Poems for Placentia
by Jane Kingshill
The Painter's Song
Moon let me put you under my pillow
there to reassemble that company of fellow-
conspirators. It was all a dark doorway
exercise. Passwords. Sword play. One call too shrill
perhaps as the night-watch went by. Soundless and speedy
the blow. "Bleed as she may, I need that bright, best
colour" says the canvas getting dressed.
Heart of a Heartless Flower
Flowers are poppies, are War.
Flowers are roses, are Politics.
Flowers are St Valentine. Mix
and match. The well
where they grow has a dead horse in it. Are
they living who drank there? Tell
me, Mars. Split on him, Venus. A scarlet Pimpernel
gets by, by going small.
A scarlet Admiral
Flies off. The star
Looks like a button-hole so far
Away. Slowly rose petals fall.
Yes these are they whom dusk forsakes
To stare you down through rifts of further
pallor. Soft, sweet, sticky. Mother
mother what's this stuff that makes
a noise like strawberry Jam?
it takes a lot of beating, takes
spoonfuls of New Jerusalem
sad fountains. Too much star
afire is what these ashes say.
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