Rosa Mundi

Hic jacet in tumba, Rosa Mundi

petals blown, blown, Rosa Munda

 

Her silk weaves through soil, Rosa

to the tomb, the tomb, Rosa Mundi

 

Muddied lace, golden thread, Rosa

beneath an island of ice, Rosa Munda

 

In her well, in her bloom, Rosa

Her underwater grove, Rosa Mundi

 

Beech, holly and willow, Rosa

Guard her frozen jail, Rosa Munda

 

Hemlock, pine and yew, Rosa

sewn into her nightdress, Rosa Mundi 

 

Hic jacet in tumba, Rosa Mundi

petals blown, blown, Rosa Munda

 


As a Foot Passenger On the Woolwich Ferry
 
after Rabelais
 


Sitting below deck in the cast iron holds –
sun beaming in from the west – horns calling out –
we hear – whispering voices – echoes – fog –
              all overlapping each other.

Where do they come from – are they ferry ghosts –
voices of those transported to the other world –
is this a kind of Thames triangle where people go
             and come to their own tempo?

No, says the master, these whispers are the frozen
voices of winter’s passengers – slowly defrosting
on summer’s breeze – listen – mah, mah, sh, op,
            bh, kuh, ush, sh, oomm.
 
We try to catch hold of them – skidding as we go
trap some by the stairwell – in the broad part of the bow
one man catches ‘mah’ – wraps it in foil –
           later, he lets it go.
 



Published in Finders of London (Enitharmon 2010)