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Tuesday 18 September 2012

Gillian Prew

The Arrival of Mourning

This plug of grief, loosened,
a warm funeral. Abandoned
to the knotted waters. The blind tide
heaving and wrecked. From birth
the beckoning of cascading waste.
How the jagged skyline, sinking,
reflects the blood, whittles the air.
The arrival of mourning,
brave and black-suited,
chiming its mirror bell, shutting
the day to a leaning tomb.
Its withered eyes, like cherry stones,
lamenting their lost sweetness. I,
a blushing callous on the sideline,
singing like a shadow. Speechless.

Above the Black River

I jostled a dark thing
shadow on shadow
while a low song fell behind me
like a tumbling wound. Drifting
and useless,
            a ghosted knot
ragged from the bone’s whittle, I
drop to a silence
dense and benignly broken.
The rotting chime of nowhere
is a lost echo
and there are storms in my throat
such that my fingers cannot pull
or threaten with destruction.
What is this foreign night of fliers?
A black whir of crows,
the dusted carcass of a snowy swan
floating the looping line of the black river.

Poem from the Edge of Autumn

I am disappeared,
like the rain already fallen, like my neighbour
despondency. Summer, slendering
to a point untouchable; turning to a fist of fires,
a fury. Oh, the view from here. The river
spreading to the sea, the boozy backs of not-so-grand hotels.
And you, still and iridescent as an opal,
sleeping away the dusty silver of my morning. My beloved
mornings, where solitude is the silhouette of my husband,
where I am weightless for a snatched moment, where I
pluck the sun from nights full of arrows. Autumn,
your blade is my collar bone stuck out, the ridge of my pelvis,
my fingers digging in. I am not glad of you.

My Silver Lights 

From forgotten surfaces the songs; 
the winged libretto of my wedding. 

A dreaming, a hollow weight; my bones 
a finger-wilt from a spurious burial. 

Empty as birth my glass tongue,  
my confetti breath, my flowering mouth.  
My silver lights, 
they sway 
a foreign freedom,  
a bough over a grave.


  1. delicious work. silver lights is a song worthy of past greats

  2. Fantastic writing, Gillian. In, ' Poem from the Edge of Autumn'..The transition between summer and fall, felt deeply. A piercing in the solar plexus.

    In 'My Silver Lights'
    "my Confetti breath, my flowering mouth"--an elegant vision.

    Arrival of Mourning, and Above the Black River--purely stunning. Thank you.

  3. Wonderful work, Gillian. Among so many brilliant (though often darkly so) images, I particularly noted "Summer...turning to a fist of fires." I can see that fist, quivering in a chilly breeze.