Poems from Neptune Blue by Simon Baraclough (Salt, 2011)
first mouthed to be last swallowed,
blue-green baubled gobsmacker.
Without the lunar counterweight,
the grave embrace’s tidal tug,
we’d pop our dislocated poles
and shudder like a shook snow globe
and every shook snow globe on earth
would synchronise and stormy flakes
would regulate themselves and lovely chaos
might abate. And then where would we be?
Somewhere someone’s daughter asks,
“If the world is round, why is a frozen pond flat?”
This is the planet of daughters and sons,
the noisy neighbour, noise polluter,
party thrower, troublemaker,
incubator, hibernator, estivator, terminator.
Such sights. Where to start? Where will it all end?
Deep in the belly of the old star mother,
the blown red placenta, the giving one's all.
Et ellu é bellu e radiante cun grande splendore—St. Francis of Assisi, Cantico delle Creature
I heard of one who thought himself too much i’the sun.
I had to laugh. And blast a billion lethal particles
across your path. You say you want your place in the sun,
so be it, but know that I am Heaven and Hell in one,
your saintly haloes and your branding tongs,
an inquisition which no atom can resist,
a thirteen million Kelvin kiss. I must admit
I’m one that loved not wisely but too well.
Consider my poor off sprung offspring:
there’s one that’s just been taken into care;
two cold and gassy monsters so remote they never think
of picking up the phone or sending me a probe;
a starlet sucking up my limelight, barring me from all her shows;
a bully bending comets on his knee and tossing them my way;
a red-faced tin pot despot sulking in his rot;
a hellish vixen boiling off each residue of love;
an iron bullet—kryptonite to any star—poised above my heart.
But here she comes: my one success, the fertile fluke,
dreaming in her just-right, just-so bed,
her arm thrown back across her brow.
I mustn’t get too close. I mustn’t be so ardent.
I’ll learn to keep my distance, for now.