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The Poetry Room

      © Sara L. Russell, 11th March 2003

      "Who is this goddess?" Whispered the sun,
      As the moon traversed the sky,
      "This angel, silent as a nun,
      This silver dragonfly?"

      He moved in for a closer gaze,
      His heart began to speed,
      As through a misty, cloud-spun haze,
      He watched the moon proceed;

      Soft silver tresses graced her brow,
      Her dress, mother-of-pearl,
      billowed like sails on a dream-ship's prow,
      or curved tsunami-swirl.

      "Oh Lady Moon" murmured the sun,
      "I burn, I swoon for you.
      "Come let me kiss you, gentle one,
      Before night passes through."

      "Come languish in my warming arms,
      To music of nightjars,
      Come let me taste those subtle charms,
      Dear lady of the stars."

      "Ah, do not court frivolity"
      He heard the moon reply.
      "My purpose is to steer the sea
      And yours to light the sky;"

      "Why, if I languished here with you,
      Tall ships would run aground,
      And you must light each day anew
      Or all nature confound."

      The sun-god would not be deterred,
      But kissed her trembling lips.
      As they embraced, no sound was heard
      Throughout the first eclipse;

      Waves lay as mirrors where they kissed,
      Until they drew away,
      To drift back into heaven's mist,
      As night melted to day.

      Published: Worlds Inside The Head e-book, 2003,
      Kedco Studios Inc.

      © Sara L. Russell, August 14th 2003

      [For my parents and their garden]

      Borders dripping fuchsia tantalize
      as buddleia gives honeyed breath.
      here, on her purple spears, the butterflies
      descend to gorge themselves to death.

      Drunken Painted Ladies reel and swoon
      among the tipsy Cabbage Whites;
      and drowsy Peacocks dip their lengthy spoons
      on fragrant phlox, between short flights.

      Common Blues peruse the border beds
      where lavandula's burgeoning;
      a Tortoiseshell browses on hebe heads
      and pheromones begin to sing.

      (Sonnet) © Sara L. Russell, 22nd June 2003

      I rode the wings of night on rising air
      That carried me from Africa's wild shore;
      To fields of meadowsweet and maidenhair
      To sing of heaven's dome and ocean's floor.

      Spring greets my song with hawthorn flower and briar
      Rewards my voice with nectar-tinted sun;
      The thrum of earth's renewal is my lyre
      As thaws begin and waters speed to run.

      I sing for memories of sultry days
      For zebras racing over arid planes.
      I sing of England's tepid Summer haze;
      Slow-strolling shire horses with plaited manes.

      From heaven's heights I sing, for life's divine,
      The purest voice, the lightest heart is mine.

      Mucha Lady: For Sarah Bernhardt
      c. Sara L. Russell 18th February 2004

      Mucha lady in a halo of stars,
      Rare queen of Decadence Divine,
      Doyen of art and café bars;
      Elegance drapes where you recline.

      Long twisted hair bedecks the page,
      Sinuous waves, organic forms;
      Lost worlds of gold surround the stage
      Where Mucha's diva girl performs.

      Indolent look, desirous eyes,
      Staring afar with smoky gaze;
      Twin whorls of cappucino skies
      In orbs of fiery amber haze.

      Mucha lady in a halo of stars,
      Queen of an era lost in haste
      Stares smokily through frame and glass
      As coffee brings its sweet, burnt taste.

      © Sara Louise Russell 24/2/97

      He stood alone in a ground mist of silver white
      lit by the moon, a darkly imposing sight
      with black hair, shadowed eyes, lips taut as wire
      and over his outstretched hands floated white fire.
      He said:

      "Let this dark night and all it brings
      lend my voice the power of black wings,
      to fly to the bedchamber where lies the one
      who must pay dearly before this night is done."

      "Listen well, the lost beyond the grave,
      hear me, spirit prince and demon knave,
      hear me, all the drowned beneath the sea,
      stalk her dreams and never let her be!

      So it happened, two score miles away,
      in a dark chamber, a restless sleeper lay.
      Shadows jumped and flickered in the gloom,
      the air became the breath of an open tomb,

      Hands rose from the floor as from the sea,
      the woman's lips, in sleep, mouthed a silent plea;
      ivy poured in at the window, serpentine,
      writhing and growing, fast as flowing wine.

      A gnarled tree branch tapped at the window pane,
      like a dead man's fist, knocking in vain,
      the woman's eyelids flickered as she turned
      and in her dreams came the face of a lover spurned...

      A lover spurned, whom, once, she loved so well,
      walking with all the hounds and sprites of hell!
      Ever closer, thousands of staring eyes!
      And rictus smiles and shuddering fetid sighs!

      Ever closer, shambling, with scrabbling claws,
      ever louder, the snap of slavering jaws!
      She turned to run, with feet turned into lead,
      her running feet churned the sheets of the bed...

      In a backward glance she saw her lost love's face
      as full of hate as the demons giving chase;
      but there had been other looks, remembered well.
      She called his name, half-sobbing: "Maravel!"

      The sorcerer flinched, as if struck where he stood,
      her cry had reached him through the misty wood;
      a pitiful, infant-wail from somewhere above,
      in a voice that, once, had enfolded his name in love,

      A voice familiar as a mother's hand.
      In a moment unexpected and unplanned,
      the voice that was such sweetness to his ears
      filled Maravel's eyes with stinging tears.

      He fought for concentration, breathing hard,
      but the moment of weakness had made him drop his guard.
      The woman woke, first trying to wake in vain,
      and seeing a room full of demons, woke again,

      And woke again: the hands sank into the floor,
      and again: the ivy shrank outside once more.
      The layers of dream-sleep were cast aside,
      She was finally awake, eyes open wide...

      "Maravel!" Hissed her tortured mind.
      "Maravel!" The one she left behind!
      "Maravel!" How came it to seem
      that he might steal her love back through a dream?!

      This was one too many restless night;
      sleepless, she must use this time to fight!
      She opened a casket on the bedside chair
      and took out some white wax and a lock of hair.

      The lock of hair was black as a raven's wing,
      it's owner's hands, once, brought her flesh to sing,
      trembling with a tactile rhapsody.
      She touched it, sighing at the memory.

      She softened the wax with a taper lit from the fire,
      shaped it into the subject of lost desire,
      till Maravel's naked body was fashioned there
      - and she crowned it with the lock of raven hair.

      In a choked voice, the sorcerer's chant went on,
      but now the web of potency was gone;
      the intonations weakened by one break,
      when bitter memory became keepsake.

      Meanwhile the woman took a silver pin,
      took the waxen doll and stabbed it in;
      into the arm, the shoulders, hard and rough!
      Into the parts made less for pain than love...

      The forest whispered as the low mist steamed,
      the crickets sang, as poor Maravel screamed,
      (sending his sparowhawk into the trees
      wondering at human lunacies)

      The hawk, from a safe vantage-point, looked round,
      to see his master writhing on the ground!
      Thrashing, yelling, rolling like a coin,
      doubling over, clutching at his groin...

      ...The woman, in her chamber, quietly sat,
      smiling purposefully, like a cat,
      looked at the fire and wondered, should she not
      make things start to get - a little hot?!

      She took the doll and met it's waxen stare
      and her fingers came to rest on the raven hair,
      sliding down it's texture, tenderly-slow
      - and she put the doll back down and whispered "No..."

      SOCIAL BUTTERFLY (For Brighton)
      c. Sara L. Russell 10th May 2001

      Flit down to The Pig In Paradise
      where the grooves are rare
      where the food is nice
      let us raise a glass
      for The Hungry Years
      for the long lost laughter
      and the beers

      I'm a social whirl, a sophisti-cat
      a dilletante, dabbling
      in this and that
      and I'll sing a song
      for Brighton town
      by the shingled shore
      as the sun goes down

      Glide down to the West Pier on a wave
      where the hippies trip
      where the ravers rave
      and I'll tell a tale
      fit to curl your toes
      while the smell of plaice
      wafts across your nose

      When the sun comes out
      south-bound I fly
      to my favourite haunts
      watching passers-by
      and the rockers stride
      as their hair blows free
      while I admire them
      covertly Let us raise a glass
      for Brighton days
      of cafe posing
      in a beery haze
      let us stay and pass
      the night away
      on the Palace Pier
      where the gamblers play

      Tough stony eyes
      Rough braided hair
      Brighton, I see you
      posing there
      my wild playmate
      you will never age
      for your mojo's filled
      with salt and sage

      Come and chase me down
      to the stony shore
      and we'll lose our shoes
      on the ocean floor
      we will dance the reel
      playing in our heads
      while our parents sleep
      safely in their beds.

Me in Brighton, Wednesday 13th February, 2008.
Poetry Page 2: Dark Poems

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