Mark Mealing ≈ Four New Poems






My longhaired cat is a clown

usually quiet & grave

now & then

he stalks slow, slow

after the keen & queenly Siamese

or pounces from behind a chair

pawing slowly & feebly

his own length from her

then rolls on his back & grins

playing with harmless paws

Our clowns here are not like that

they mock pain & anger

mimic greed & pride

they bless madness

behind their bleached still faces

There is a desert land

where the clowns are holy men

they mock dull habit

they mock ourselves

Let us be mocked

by merry beasts

or holy men

& not by those who bless madness in the city streets

their mouths shouting from the bleached faces of the dead







I saw the World

as the shell of a tremendous Snail


When everything is black or white

one can walk in & in

down through an ever-shrinking

an ever smaller & narrower space

until one comes to the smallest, narrowest place

where everything stops

& there’s no turning about

Nothing left to do but die


Or one can already face the other way

or turn about after a few steps

& walk out & out

up through an ever-wider

an ever larger & more open space

until one comes to where there is no more shell

where everything is revealed & alive

& all in rainbow colours.






Your love is better than wine

Behold, you are fair, my love

yes, pleasant; also our bed is green

you have ravaged my heart

my sister, my spouse

you have ravaged my heart

with one of your eyes

with one chain of your neck

How much better is your love than wine

Who is she who looks forth like the morning

fair as the moon, clear as the sun

& awesome as an army with banners? Song 1/2; 4/1, 9, 10; 6/10

The green of your hills & dales

the blue of your seas

the gold of your rolling sands

the white of your clouds & snows

the rich darkness of your moonless nights

the strength of your mountains

the bright fire of your days

The meadows that open in the mountain woods

the deep pool beneath the chiming waterfall

the wild deer, wand’ring here & there Auguries of Innocence

the osprey crying above the lake

the summer star Capella blazing in your sky

A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse

a spring shut up, a fountain sealed

a well of living waters & streams from Lebanon Song 4/12,15

closed, closed to those who will not see nor hear

Set me as a seal upon your heart

as a seal upon your arm

for love is as strong as death

jealousy is cruel as the grave

its coals are coals of fire

that has a most vehement flame

What shall we do for your little sister

in the days when she shall be spoken for?

If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver

& if she be a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar Song 8/6, 8, 9

We will wall you with blocks of stone

we will build our palaces with silver & gold wrung from you

& heap them upon your living body

For we are jealous

we are as strong as death

& we will posses you utterly

we will take away & cut down your branches Is18/5

hew down the tree & cut off its branches

shake off its leaves & scatter its fruit

let the beasts get away from under it

& the fowls from its branches Dan.4/14

This is our mother

who nurtures & cherishes us

who feeds us & makes us a home

for all our lives

therefore we will destroy her

Arise, & let us go by night

& let us destroy her palaces Jer. 6/5

we will set her in her place

she is our mother & not one of us

How then shall we stand? II Kings 10/4

We shall stand alone

there is no power like ours

& we will wield it as we please

For we are jealous

we are as strong as death

Is this not great Babylon

which we have built

for the house of our kingdom

by the might of our power

& for the honour of our majesty? Dan. 4/30

its coals are coals of fire

that has a most vehement flame Song 8/6

No doubt but we are the people

& wisdom shall die with us Job 12/2

The heavens, being on fire shall be dissolved

& the elements shall melt with fervent heat II Peter 3/10,12





Without a Poem



I puzzled what

from the word’s I’m given

to say on Sunday to my friends in church

& also

spoke with other friends

one of whom is my wife

about problems that puzzled them

I walked to the waterfall but

came back without a poem


I go

with my eyes open

& see how

the new snow

like a strong drug

casts a great glamour

over the land I know

trees, rocks & shore

exactly & at once

as it seemed before the light flakes fell

& wholly different

There are poems everywhere

All I have to do

is find the ones that seek me out







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