Tone Poem #1: The Bride Speaks – Ashley Capes & Jane Williams

now I have taken all the bread and gathered it
inside my whale-like belly
for another time, or for when they dissect me
or if I have children

and petals from white roses too, plucked from
afar and sent into the avenues
and markets like cough-drop fairies

now I have sent out the last of many
invitations, lit all my candles and
turned on the hot water, before opening
the window for the first sound of birds

always a tree somewhere
connecting earth to ether
hope to what went before
a bride waiting to be kissed
into technicolour
something perfect prayed for
and a star just bright enough
to make it so
singing there must be singing
or at least the desire to sing
a moment of cultivated composure
before breath is expelled and with it
the universal melody of longing
even the naysayers who know
if we were meant to fly
God would have given us wishbones
even they have been invited because
even they want to get it right
this moment of grand intent
of one and one thousand
rewritable nights

searching for coffee beans
and leather for my soles,

in the hush beneath the tower,
before crickets
and the green whisper
of leaves

comes an echo of shells
and the boots of occupiers,
darkening weddings
and spoiling wine

the uncertain cut
of the tourists’ shirts,
blinking from crowds
bound by cobbled streets

behind shutters and doors
hands reach for wings.

how easy to become
lost to the world of men
to the thing of it
I could nod and nod forever
my mock acquiescence
live grateful for nothing
instead I wait
in this hiding place
bunkered against the light
as the sun intensifies
to mere artefact
ad libbing a prayer thumbing
the beans of a makeshift rosary
and I know he will come for me
love or some other small
revolution driving him to the tower
he will know not to look up
he will remember the direction
fear takes me

in the steel heat
children still trade marbles,
a turtle sneaks down the drain
and no-one notices

all eyes are bronzed
by the sun, bare chests
and shoulders
locked in the heroics of time

that is what becomes
of love here, an echo cupped
in our hands

it was never part
of anyone’s deal making
this shadow crossing
between wed and widowed
between mankind and man
friends spare each other
the whole truth
husbands and wives
forgive and forgive again
through a red fog
a father sees his father
in the shape of
his own raised fist
and stops
everywhere lovers
just are
we dream
of hushed things
a thin reach of moonlight
Solomon’s song
and loosed
from long dead skin
this single feather
now soaring.

Ashley / Jane
September – December 2009

Les Fiances de la Tour Eiffel


5 Responses to “Tone Poem #1: The Bride Speaks – Ashley Capes & Jane Williams”

  1. Excellent knitting of two minds. Love becoming an echo cupped in hands, the shadow between wed and widowed. And, as a father, I am enamoured and in complete agreement with the lines ‘through the red fog every father sees his father…’ Great work, looking forward to the next one.

  2. Thank you, Mark! It’s a great feeling to see our work strike a chord! And it was amazing to do, it was such a buzz working with not only great art, but also a great poet in Jane!

  3. Lovely poem Ashley and Jane – i take it you took turns to write the verses? Beautiful wakening of the minds – moves with many thoughts – well done

  4. Thank you, Rhonda! Yep, we sure did. It seemed best to work off both the image & what one an other had created

  5. Breathtaking. Melded minds have produced a wonderful work. I love Chagall’s paintings and you have given more than I knew.

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