Of the Fauns
An encounter with Miss Ryder
She led me into a copse,
All around was ochre –
Not an oasis, she insisted, and indeed;
The pleuston sagged on the avocado pond,
A gale swept her hair;
Well-gened, she was, china-eyed
And slender, a debutante, I’d have thought,
As she spoke of her depression.
She was furnished with wares,
Blessed in a way,
And here was a place between dusk and day–
The sky sagged in absinthe
Like an abstract! she said.
As a singer, she confided, she took comfort in thinking
Her ills would endow her voice
With gravity. But now, she continued,
She was applauding the truce.
Quiescent in lager, unschooled in drinking,
The classless pastime.
Incapable of pleasure, any effort ending
In guilt and distraction,
Kept by collar, groping for feminine.
An unchecked capacity
For adultery; their inheritance.
This room receives his stirrings
(Walls are thin, blue, and faded);
musings, accents, irregular screams,
it is here the artist works
(tries to become an artist)
He is a mirror-maker,
Old mirrors are stacked in a hole in the wall;
A museum of enterprise he hopes
No one will find.
A Legionnaire, of Good Breeding, Announces Himself to the Morning
An order resounded to press on,
The one horn; unhampered,
Bringing us out of the pale pits
To the copper sun, bright hell.
We arose, one by one,
Like maggots from a torso,
Blistered, and bent, with
Sun-bitten brows, we cursed
Our mothers, and stepped over the whores.
Dead is the emperor,
Or the king, perhaps, not mine –
That of the men.
Here I must speak in a lout’s tongue,
And with a rotten accent, too.
Retained for vigour,
My vigour is great
I wear this old, bloody bronze,
Swap arrows with silhouettes,
I had a woman I suppose,
Hyacinths in her hair.
No grunt, no sound
From the old battered mare,
I am lighter, I think,
Than she’s used to.
*All work is the property of the author and is distributed with their permission
R.G. Foster is a writer from Northern England. He has published short fiction, sports journalism, literary and music criticism, and poetry. His debut poetry volume, Achilles On Reprieve, is due out with Lapwing Publications.