Dealing with Deities

poem by Jai Nicholl


The Eve of St Agnes

Hourly you choose such liquids as compliment
your staple motivations
which choose and arrange your actions much the way
a florist fills her last order on
the day after Valentine's

or as a newly qualified clinical psychologist
marries her high-school sweetheart
till recently her father's apprentice
in the church her parents still attend

religious imagery
to a decadent facing liver-failure

So you end up on a doorstep in
the outer suburbs, a wilting bouquet
brightening a largely paved-over Arcadia,
a poem on the theme of acedia
in an ochre brick village named
Arcadia, or Acedia

where not even the mentally-ill mother now lives
who, incidentally
after dropping her psychology degree
once trained to be a florist
before letters from clairvoyant friends
predicting financial windfalls
along with Readers' Digest cheques
and banknotes stamped "Not Legal Tender"
began to confuse her

While as for her daughter
as sources verbal and electronic inform you
last weekend she went to a masquerade ball
in maximum disguise:
turbaned, corseted, stiletto heeled
and was instantly by one and all recognised

poet's biography ->