Be the Pom
A ‘scriptographic’ translation of Anna Akhmatova’s
‘Beyepom’/’In the Evening’
taker, herbs in the pannier and rope.
Sex in October and I’ll not mope
for days when July was long and hazy.
No more to be catching it from nature:
catch it today in the aperture
of pink lips stealing a kiss upon the stair.
Take heart from the earthly word chthonic.
Must Mexico now be gin and tonic
when a moa drinks margaritas in the sun?
of Queen’s Speech tripping on your tongue.
In the evening, recycle me down at the wrecker—
shorten my vowels. Make them wrong.
From an African Church: Victoria, The Cameroons
I watch and then retreat up rainy streets
to a shabby church where voices reach
my ears: a choir led by a woman, the priest.
And all because I know the melody and words—
Gustav Holst: ‘Earth be fair and her people one,’
so far from the chapel of my childhood
cracked stained glass rattles as we sway to the song,
while outside the surf of the Atlantic Ocean
roars contrapunto to the voice we raise,
to the hymn that wants to deny the commotion
of even this: the stranded fish that just caught my gaze,
that bucked and flipped its silver on the sand,
until the next great wave hauled it back like a hand.
The True End of The Odyssey
not seeing that she might turn out to be
the one who used to swim each night with me
across the dark cove to our secret bed.
and so I’d go from city to city,
her name a word, the word that I carry
as I carry this oar like a winnowing fan,
and knowing I will not prove myself good
nor plant this burden in the earth like a tree
who has never tasted salt in his food
and knows not even a word of the sea.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cliff Fell is the author of three books of poems. The latest, an illustrated acrostic, The Good Husbandwoman’s Alphabet, was published early in 2014 by Last Leaf Press. In 2015 he will be a teaching fellow at the IIML, convening the Poetry and Creative Nonfiction stream of the MA in Writing for the Page.