Wouermanns's 'Ships Burnt In Sight of Shore' & The march
by Colin Honnor
[ poetry - february 10 ]
Wouermanns's 'Ships Burnt In Sight of Shore'
Moves brushwork thickly to their lights
knowing he's at connoisseurs' mercy
must seek highlights; the night watch looks
for patrons, the girl with her pearl earring
mourns the monologue of her family group
(faces pencilled, detail to be filled)
Faint cyanosed tiles glaze into crazings,
these bluish cheeks of bourgeois elderhood
(paying for paint, pigment, militia)
empoignment of blades, paintless silence
of mortuary canals umber is lavished on.
The trees are a signal to tides; wheats penned
from Ushant winds combed sleet, backs
towards their angled pines, ferments,
repentance-well risen on choking felon.
On copperplate statesmen seal, memorial
by less talented, more famed, pupil
among subtleties ruinous glances
feed their furtive treacheries, polity
blinds to servants trussed and bled.
Now they are sent to oblivion
draughtsmen forget they converted
visons to brick, sunken in wind seared
polder. Beggars, vagrants, peer
in at card player, lacemaker, whore.
Beneath this lucent ambassador
she tips her jug into the luminous glass
eddies crescent corkscrew widdershins.
Among pollard willow roots, frozen
dykes erode to their ruin, seeping salt
into her brew, the untaxed god....
he dreamed this world into paint
while brothers plot overseas, burning
Medway, until a swollen Admiral fired
their hulks, plumbed his discoveries with
their continent barbarous tongues.
He hectors them in principled distrust
of any absolutes; the changed rubric
from Crown to slainte
where a damned poet maudit rearranges
his nest to exhibit a cuckoo compassion
enigma; a Greek key pattern
crepe coloured clouds blast off Belfast Lough
sleety salt rain in dark eyed in sailing cob
ash wood and larch pole in sea blister purse
as they march in Lodges of old song
polemic of drums and club and harrow
rusted gathering cobwebs
by mist-drowned culverts
rhymes' sacrament has replaced them
but a blasphemous hedge priest, reeking
of Bushmills opens the door to passages
where only the keening dark
slumped to their sandy dirges.