FRANZ MARC AT VERDUN
Here are the most terrible things
any mind could make up.
Verdun, they call it, as they point out
on the map Douaumont, Fleury, Fort Vaux,
the Meuse snaking through everything.
Odd moments, I think of the blue horses.
What no-one will ever paint is this smell:
explosives, corpses, damp, always damp,
the rain, the river, odd streams clogged up,
brooks, snow-melt, the pools in craters.
Sometimes there is screaming, sometimes a silence,
world gone mute men pause over billy-cans
cigarettes there is fog
I have in my sketchbook
several ideas for abstract paintings
FOR GAUDI, WHO WAS DEVOUT
your leafy clearings, your grottoes, underwater caves,
your wavy balconies, the staircases that insinuate,
lithe and organic,
the swaying kelp and the luminous coral,
the aquamarine and green and rose
blending and shifting like an octopus
as it changes temper,
the sweet groves of your interiors,
cool respite from heat,
all say poet, fish-lover,
someone passionate about tending
and perhaps that's how you saw the Divine,
as planter, creator, a creator making
ever more blossoming places, deeper pools
to delight his creatures.
But ten years after your death,
false Christ was riding triumphant with Franco,
destroyer of towns, executioner.
THE WINDOW OF ARCHETYPES
An alleyway leads us to this window
where a blue-haired girl is trying to fly,
to marry or to fight the mottled dragon.
For this king, there is a servant.
For this peasant, his breeches patched,
a piebald horse with a mad gleam
in its eye.
The Devil is horned, red, cloven-footed.
He hovers by an angel
that grins with rosy cheeks.
Toad keeps close to witch
and the tiger that dangles from his struts,
bright as citrus, dark as coal,
is book illustration, charmer, comedian,
our companion or our downfall.
In the background,
George Bush Jr. smiles
THIS BODY, EVERY BODY
from Petr Pavlensky's barbed wire installation
Any direction you stretch in,
this cradle of spikes,
colour of pewter and cold all the time,
even in summer in the parks of blossom.
Though you're grown enough
to walk and talk,
have sex, go roller-blading,
old enough to watch film noir,
get a pay-packet,
travel alone on public transport,
you curl like a foetus,
The barbs needle.
Copyright Sheila Hamilton 2014
Sheila Hamilton currently lives in the NW of England. Her poems have been widely published. The Monster in the Rose Garden is a pamphlet that came out from Flarestack in 2001; One Match is a pamphlet that came out in 2010 from Original Plus; and a full-length collection, Corridors of Babel (2007), is available from Poetry Salzburg.