Here I birth and here I am, tar water my start;
yet through the seeping space of bog
I erupt in yellow stars. Then nebulae
am I and I am a starnight of saffron.
Bog is the roof of the underworld,
where upside down the dead
walk with their feet shadowing the soles
of the living. Each step you take
you take onto the step of your dead self.
And down here I am the true night
of saffron stars. I am the hades of
the dull and indifferent. Down you come,
down you come to my dunlit world,
where my roots bind the heavens in place.
Cruppany I give to sheep who eat my flames
and down to hades they crumble, boneless sheep
herding the souls of dullards. Pick me oh pretty
and pin me to your hair, and my saffron dust
shall bid you, shall bid you here.
(from The Offspring of the Moon Salmon Poetry, 2013)
I broke a tooth on the tangled locks
of that dark-haired woman. My mouth was greased
with the grease from her un-sunned head. Only
the plughole of the bath holds more of her
than I. She keeps me on the shining lid
of the toilet cistern; lets me wait
until she’s ready. No one is more loyal
than the one she drags backwards and forwards
through that hedge of hers. I live to be taken up
and put down. Waiting is my duty too. I
lie idle most of my days, hoping she’ll
take me back near her bed. How I think
bitterly on the day I was replaced
by that silver lad. The one who spends
his days and nights a-straddle on her brush.
(previously published in Census 2 and The Offspring of the Moon Salmon Poetry, 2013)
John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent being The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon Poetry, 2013). Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons Of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.