For Louise
the eye’s love of the horizon

We half circle the lake this evening
exactly as we planned to do

but no-one has given much thought
to this moment now divided by doubt

whether it’s better to push ahead
or better turn back the way we came—

the kind of question we always find
hard to fathom—on balance we go on

yet talking now of a time you saw
how lit up the city’s streets become

on nights such as this beneath low cloud
what to make of the austere moral





After Bonnefoy

Love let’s discover ourselves at such
a height as if light spilled from
the hour’s vessel and the mingling cries
a bright stream where nothing stays

but abundance itself so designated—
let’s find ourselves and seize
a handful of sheer pure presence
on the bed of morning the bed of evening

wherever time gouges its furrows
where the precise waters vanish into air
let’s bring ourselves one to the other

as if each was at last all creatures
and all things all empty ways
all stones all metals and all streams





O. at the edge of the gorge

Glossy black clods of these carpenter bees
swing the corner of the house
to bank into spindly lavender stems
to alight on blooms that stoop

with the able weight of their insect lives
oblivious bees bobbing
one moment wing beats easing off
then revving higher as he hears them

make away across the white clover lawn
past yellow broom
past lilacs feeding surely from roots

deep into a stash of royal Tyrian juice
lost to sight likewise each bee
vanishes into the gorge as if heading home


The six ferrous circles vividly vibrate
from the hill-top
dicing segments of human time
they divide in hope of making sense

of astronomical time marked by a light
from the east rolled out above
then tumbling westwards
to grow cooler beyond the Sibylline Hills

turning blue as a patient who is unreached
by any one of these bells—
he lives to inhabit their elegant portions

he samples each slice of sweet day
but come nightfall how can it be
these same let down notes he finds chilling






In this region of the fountain of the Vraud
religion turns to power to imprisonment

where Genet writes The Miracle of the Rose
the heritage industry opens its hands

to renovate walls scouring from east to west
a workman shrugs his jacket off I hear

him expecting warmth by noon it’s rain
his friend kneels to re-point the next stone






[Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published seven collections of poetry including Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010) – ‘an exceptional ear . . . superbly intelligent . . . urgent, heartfelt, controlled and masterful.’ (Kathryn Maris, Poetry London). His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies (Enitharmon, 2006) was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as ‘unlikely to be bettered for very many years’ (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s The Sonnets to Orpheus appeared from Enitharmon in 2012. Recent original collections include The Time We Turned (Shearsman, 2014), A Hatfield Mass (Worple Press, 2014) and Daodejing: a new English version (Enitharmon, due 2015). For more visit http://www.martyncrucefix.com]

Copyright © 2015 by Martyn Crucefix, 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.