Poetry

Belvedere Gardens, Vienna

Though horse chestnuts are aureoled

With gold round rusting foliage,

Black, column-straight trunks make them shrines

To night as ravens and I stand

Beneath a chilling cobalt sky.

Bells peal, and garden sphinxes ask:

“Why can’t the lion and lamb lie down

In harmony again?” Despite

My terse: “Because they never did”,

The question stays. And I too now

We’ve quarrelled and you’ve gone to Prague.

Your hair imagined as these tree

Leaves falling, swept by death-thin men

Into brown heaps, blackbirds agree

And hop about on cold bare limbs

In ownership, as news sinks in

That you have cancer and your course

In chemo-therapy’s begun.

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