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TWO POEMS FOR JOHN RUSKIN



BRANTWOOD


I’ve come to visit your ghost, Father

I’ve come to view the relics

The dead rose petals and gathered stones.

 

Here in your empty house

I’ve stretched myself

upon your narrow bed of sorrows

I’ve looked through your eyes

into the soul’s darkest night

Through your eyes upon imaginary gardens

of frozen grief by an azure blue lagoon

turned grey with weeping.

 

Now, in the lingering light

I climb the hill to sit with you a while,

Here, in the garden, where bluebells cast

their quivering veil upon the ground

I take your hand.

 

Never mind, Papa, I say –

Never mind.

Scissors really do cut paper

Water wears away old stones.

 

Across the lake light and shadow

chase one another.  Swallows

moving like fine-broken starlight.


Acanthus by John Ruskin
 

ON VISITING THE GRAVE OF JOHN RUSKIN

 

So here you are, Papa

Quiet at last under your cross

And a handful of dust

all that’s left of ancient sorrow.

 

Content to lie without a word?

Haven’t you one last burst

from that endless fountain?

No.  Poor bones.

Sleep on then

and take your well-earned rest.

 

I’ve brought you a bit of lilac

just broken.





More on John Ruskin: SESAME AND ROSES        NOTES ON THE LAKE DISTRICT       A TRIBUTE TO JOHN RUSKIN