Friday 31 January 2020

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer: Idyll 1


Night has been notified. The tangled hours tumble
like clammy sheets that hot hands seek to grope and fumble.
No more will both the angels come back into view,
I hope. Temptation stretches out. On tar I chew.
No one has any inkling of a seeking man.
The names all hum. But does a name convey one, can
it ever? I despite my name still feel unseen.
I’d sooner be quite small, my head a tangerine
enveloped in a peel of glaring orange hands
so I don’t have to see where every gesture lands.
You are my dearest dear, mind well these words of mine.
Since you have brought me thrashing to the shore with twine
like that a sailor mends a net with, ties a knot.
I lie so silver-bellied here, the hope I’d got
was not till morning from your briny hand to slip
gasping for lack of air while on your salty lip. 
A home he’ll find who in the warm trap hides away.
From water he’ll be saved. While sad nets moan and bay.
What men call love’s but character assassination.
For love to win, one’s character needs abjuration.
I fling myself into two arms as from some flat.
While mentally I hack a tomb-like habitat,
I forge a golden death mask from your face so cute.
But you’ve unhanded me. And with fine grubs you root
just under wrappings of embalmed eternal sleep.
You whet my sword with salt. Rust bubbles fizz and leap.
These are the tangled hours of this briny night.
My comfort’s what’s expected of me now is slight.
And all that I have learnt in my whole life
a fishmonger debones with three flicks of his knife.
With leaking sword I lie embalmed in brine
and sail beneath the waves to that blue hour of mine.
But something pulls me back. You? Someone calls my name.
Please don’t. I’ll tie escape sheets from my window frame.
On all three legs I’m being peered at. Even so,
the leaking small pink angel’s turned up for the show
and with her arabesques is dripping in my ear. 
The bitter angel on her glass foot strains to hear.
The hours that I spend drowning are to me as water.
Here is my belly. And assessments are for later.
Handwash and clean me meanwhile as you would a fish.
Mind well these words of mine. And do you know my wish?
I would so dearly wish to tell you all, I swear,
but gasp for breath with this small mouth of mine and stare
into the dark-blue depths of water gauging me.
The wind gets up.  Off the last sailor sets to sea,
unravelled is his galleon’s rigging and is black
with pitch-black angels. Right you are. Record the track.
‘Well, little poet, time to tell your story. Give.’
There’s nothing I would rather learn than how to live.’

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