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apparitions of Mary


all the upheavals of the preceding centuries
how out of both religious and secular declined
a background of change

                                          a serious rival
began to lose sight      the great wealth
seemed very tempting      especially when
to do anything much to remedy all this
            not until 1519 was conquered by Cortès



the distance went first      grass
further away than      hills      mountains shrunk
into psychology      out of the gaps that were left
between my fingers when I held my hand up to the sun
came      sun      real and slick and imaginary     

                                 I could feel
its hot wings close around and lift me      I was very
and not at all alone with myself      I found
germination was easy      not that big an idea



the moment when the revolt had grown to such proportions
this was an inclination      aged 57      surrounded she smiled
in approval      to ask that a little house be built there
and to return in order to believe him

      climb back to the top of the hill and gather
flowers out of season      scoop up the wonderful
flowers so that my house may be built      all that
had happened      phonetic      she who breaks the serpent



under the roses sank to their knees and some
were bitten      held my breath and      making sense
of the imprint left by snow on me      learning

the journey across my eyelids became
      that's just how it happens      dogs barking
at night across the valley don't stop being dogs
      don't stop love     doesn't      and won't      who nobody
them love     

                         I'm ahead of myself and risking
becoming beautiful      no more or less as night fell
the snakes rustle out of the heat      the spiders


a prolonged beating made of the skins two miles away
crushed for a new beginning      contrasting in      the book
     came death      humility and disobedience

this      is
                       a reference      in England the process



it is too far to see the morning      clusters
below and above      image on her own hands dusted
with flowers      never again to myself this way
the light 

[Source: Catholic Society Pamphlet: Apparitions of Mary]


not remembering the city

we strolled into the crowd
among the journeying faces one
had left his beloved child not quite alone
another straightens his hair

            around midnight yesterday
they carried your friend back to our house

I am in the house alone
counting the rose-buds under the kitchen window
into an antique book for idealized beauty
just a finger or a toe
fashioned for representations of love

it is as if we had read the newspaper
not thinking about any of it
because today is too ephemeral
forgotten with no signature

tomorrow the picture describes our celebrations
assembling people in the exercise ground
according to the lines on their faces
or failing that by height      a title such as
footsteps      or      it should be overcome     
a fictional character

[Nathan Thompson grew up in Cornwall and studied at the University of Exeter, where he later lectured part-time in musicology.  His first collection, the arboretum towards the beginning, was published by Shearsman in 2008.]

Copyright © 2009 by Nathan Thompson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.