Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ygraine On The Steps Of Tintagel

over us love unclothe

                      Susan Howe

A hawk lands
on the handrail
turning down its wings
like the collar of her cloak.

She feels cornered
more alone
and utters a name
in the mist –


She reflects on the night he seduced her.

In Autumn’s gloom
when the sea rose and surrounded
the cliff with its wide hem of froth
you came to me.

Not as the pagan warrior
but as my husband, The Duke
unbraiding hair
with the scent
of burnt apple wood
on your hands

and the patience
of a hunter
blessing the deer
after his kill.

I felt the change
and submitted
to this slow unbinding
of strands and vows,
gown lacings
and female desire.

The room shimmered.
Air and moonlight slid
under the bolted door.

Candle flames shuddered
in the draft
like yellow leaves
in the wind
drawn and responding to
the evening’s sorcery.

And so it would be
the vulnerable taken
by deceit – but not deceit
I knew  you had come
to me in his familiar form
but with another soul.

A lover’s pursuit,
a chieftain’s shadow.

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