The Wastnesse, sonnets XI—XX

The Wastnesse

Sonnets XI—XX


XI

Hush, my love — the wolves walk again tonight,
Prowling blasted perimetres, hungry
For us, the wanderers of the Old World,
Searchers engaged in this desolation—
Breeding is now a sin, but who could say
A child would not live amongst the ruins
Of glass and steel? Cracked and shattered envy
Of once what was and yet is now nothing.
And tho the state is rough and entropy
Is writhing under soil so heaped with oil,
Your warmest arms have lost no inch of care;
Through the dirt, your face is an angel’s wish.
      Good night, good night, good night, good night, good night:
      I pray to wake again with you in light.


XII

Waiting. And distant. Never never leave
   Never. And waiting. For dancing, girlishe
      Dancing. And motion. Always always staye
         Always. The anchor keeps to shore’s deep grave
            Buried. The angled fins of funny fishe
               Funny. Lying in saint’s repose, my childe
               Saintly. And writing on the parchment, wilde
            Writing. And praying in steel plate and cuishe
         Armoured. Protecting corage from the glaive
      Piercing. Eyes that watch me from far awaye
   Watching. Acting don’t be don’t be churlishe
Distant. And waiting. Never never grieve
      Tho thoughts are fractured in Death’s base decaye
      Our builded love will always always staye


XIII

The light of Heaven shines upon this place
That sleeps like infant quivering in shade;
Daybrite shakes child from night’s lucid embrace,
   And rises o’er Dhaor as sequence of replace—
   As God’s good star is often cruel to face,
Our ego shivers and seeks to hide its eyes;
   We turn from Truth, as seeking to displace
   The common tongue does give a clearer rise
   To forms of thought that soothe the maggot’s sighs
As they burrow deep into the Realm of Self
   And separate the conscience from the skies
To glean a diamond hidden in the filth.
      So cast away the shawl of lightless echo’s sound:
      Throw down your hand, for in filth it shall be found.


XIV

To Anima: you bring me priceless charms;
   Yet young you are, ’twixt woman and girl,
Your unique wisdom sings like psalms
   And bring to me a gift of mind’s unfurl:
Duality in modes of strife, you are my muse
   And sister too, I carry you to Word’s lament
When mere Chaos reigns in trapped refuse
   And rude Psyche’s atrophies dement.
Tho hurt you cause, and also that is true:
Those forming years I grappled with your pain,
Alas! No greater wish to trade myself for you;
So we fought for many years upon this plain.
      But older are we now, and stand as one:
      We share this form, unified in warmth of sun.


XV

Five years have passed since we met our end:
   Many decades more it feels. I remember yet
   Your ocean sight, whence I was snared into your net,
Your curtailed field of golden hair did rend
My heart, at once towards your soul did send
   My choice to take you as my partner fair:
   We effaced our lonely pasts, eager then to share—
And then on to live as one we did intend!
But paradise of many years is sore to growth
   When village life is poison to the heart:
When change arrived I reneged my oath;
   You could not leave, but I needed to depart
      The land of which assailed my soul’s content—
      I left alone without you, to restart.


XVI

I have not yet discussed thy smile, catlike,
   What a joy! Nor have I spoke of thy cheeks,
Those soft white domes of snowy down; thine eyes—
I say the sea, but they shone more beautifully.
A work of art by God’s good hand and brush,
   A slightness in my arms. Those tiny sounds
That did escape thy lips when we were close;
Those words of clever wit and empathy.
Just see: her form now has changed, as time will do,
   Not slight as once, but life nor I shall judge;
Tho different you are, still your face shines!
O once-love, my respect for you remains:
      You love again, and I have moved far past you;
      I wish only joy, now that it is through.


XVII

I could not write these words, my dearest friend,
When we were two as one — so now I write 
In present what I could not speak then;
A treatise on our erstwhile love: despite 
The harm I wrought on us, confusion you
Detailed, it were the years we laughed and smiled
   That matter more than all. Altho we knew
That hearts can change, we treated it quite mild;
And now I have embraced the past, I think 
Of all the good that’s born to spite the woes
That crushed our once-paired tender souls
And brought romance to smold’ring, fascist brink.
      Let’s put aside these bitter tears, and speak
      More close upon our perfect, pretty streak.


XVIII

So it begins: is lust, unasked, unbound?
Or can such desire be forced beyond such
Mammal ritual? How is this care found—
In dirt, or within geodes of your touch,
Masked from view between your Juliette dress?
I tie the mask, leave undisturbed those hairs;
If I were closer, such would be a mess—
Tho my Nostro cape belies such care,
’Tis only that Godliness in my heart,
Untouched by Death’s forgotten light embrace,
Sitting good inside a gesture’s made part;
Only with fingers that bite I do trace:
      To my smartest instinct I shall abide,
      Then watch you, costumed, away, in silk glide.


XIX

I had you there: the small of your small back
   Cupped by my warnsome hand, wrought to rupture
A noisome response; but what did you lack
   To glimpse a wry smile? Yet then did gather
A lather of citywide moans, water
      Parading our rained-out love affair;
That tender, offensive gesture brusquer
      Than my slowsome hand could intend, softer
Than your wet back in satin purple dress.
   I hone in: yes, the city now burns,
But I can feel you pulse, my budding dear:
Our response to chaos incarnate does not learn.
      I should let them know, that anarchy looms;
      Yet still your back my dissolute hand grooms.


XX

Soft dress clasped in torrent by lampost dreary:
To be destroyed, entirely? Nay. I clutch your hand,
   And we depart, yet moments ago we nearly
Entered into love decried. We stand glad
   For what we found this night; our love dearly
Cut short, my God, my sweet thing; am I mad,
To seek closer connection, when the city burns?
Nay. We enter the fray, man never learns;
Now I am your guardian, your protector:
I wish I wore cuirass of gold-leaf steel,
To reprimand our closest captors;
’Tis only to love you, girl, that I do feel.
      Through thronging crowd we wade resolute to live,
      And ’tis ’til only death that I shall give.



Published by

A. J. Sahnow

Author of The Groop, available on Amazon in print and Kindle. Also poet, writer of short stories, musical recording artist, Dungeon Master, erstwhile filmmaker. Graduate of Film Studies, BA Hons First Class. Twitter: https://twitter.com/SahnowScribbles | Music: https://nounverbnoun.bandcamp.com/ | Short films: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFgGw0vS7jWVWnEoGtHJxKw

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