High up in the cupola, afloat again
above my mangy cradle     wooden cardinals
drift     wavering     mobile
in the mind's eye     & stream's reflection

Those light motes flicker     toward the shortest day
Lucía's     solstice     dying of the year;
in evening light     these shadowy things appear
revolving, wheeling round     in peripeteia     toward the clay

& from black shining clay     is born     a star
November star     gathering straw toward home
& shepherds' glinting wheat     & draws it near

like dust     the dusty origin of Rome,
Byzantium     my cardinals share
beginning     with the dark     & wintry tomb



Beginning with the dark & wintry tomb
of black-holed heaven for a fixèd star
& only heaven knows     I'm going home
at last     as the year dies     we are
upheld by hope alone,     as the lights fade
& the year dies,     & the Thames flows on
toward the minimum     I shall put on
my cardboard crown     take up my wooden sword

Lucía     ALMA     Black Madonna

& there     beneath your shadowy umbrella,
whirling double M     U-turn
of murky justice     swirling     NNW
you palm your nostos kosmos to the urn--
this clay-born sunburnt stage     put to the test

Henry Gould | Island Road 39 and 40
Contents | Mudlark No. 6