Monday, 21 March 2022 16:50

Writing a poem bursting into tears having misheard deforestation for defenestration

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Writing a poem bursting into tears having misheard deforestation for defenestration

Writing a poem bursting into tears having misheard deforestation for defenestration

by Lisa Kelly, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Image above: Defenestrace, by Karel Svoboda

but before the mishearing and the frustration,
can we deal with

the bursting into tears, and whether the poem is
bursting into tears,

            those leaky, lachrymose drips, or tears,
those ripped up, papery bits,

propelled by frustration and closer to
deforestation, like felling trees

and chopping them into logs, little pieces of what
they once aspired to,

            a composite whole reaching up like
dreamy spires to inspire,

reaching past the highest window in the highest building,
where a general might resist, momentarily, against clear glass
           until
someone tears away from the crowd

           and lifts the latch and everyone sees the
opportunity

which might befall the general, the fate he
deserves, and surges forward,

             as if a valve has burst and liquid motion rushes
at the general who is stiff

as the trunk of a tall tree, whose bark is
bigger than his bite,

whose bite is a chunk taken out of his uniformed
arm by a black bear

which has stripped back bark for the sweet
sapwood, and uses every tool available

             from the sharpness of his incisors to the
tearing of his canines,

and naturally he is tearing up at the injustice of
his predicament for not giving

the right intelligence, for not speaking truth to
power, for not refusing the yacht,

            made of 40 cubic metres of mahogany,
50 cubic metres of cedar

and 50,000 hours of craftmanship, and now here
he is, framed, and about to

fall 40, maybe 50, maybe 50,000 feet to a landing
of broken glass and ransacked rubble

           with the unrelenting view of barren land
where once a forest grew,

where not even his bones nor blood will fertilise
the dirt, so what can he do

but scratch with his thumbnail in the
condensation on the glass a line about
            culpability,

            about tearing up or tearing up, and watch
the self-pitying rivulets

run down the pane, but of course he has no time
for any last words, all thought

evaporated, as he rushes towards his shadow,
leaving a snag of thread

           from his tearing uniform on the lintel as
proof he lived, as we consider

the venerable history of defenestration, Queen Jezebel,
who worshipped a nature god,

defenestrated by her eunuchs, her body eaten by
dogs, as we consider the irreversible

           history of deforestation, and write a poem
bursting into tears or tears having misheard
           deforestation for defenestration.

Read 676 times Last modified on Monday, 21 March 2022 17:35
Lisa Kelly

Lisa Kelly is a freelance journalist and co-Chair of Magma Poetry. Her first collection, 'A Map Towards Fluency' is published by Carcanet and was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize 2021.

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