Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Two Poems, Michael Lee Rattigan

Ways of Listening


                A jolt arcs the body, stuns the heart.

Events witnessed while unconscious –

                                          “too shocked to be scared.”

Living green streaming in all directions

              impossible to spell out.


A wave’s wash – the view shifting to a corner


                 in the space between.

Flowers on a sill vibrate across, while footsteps

                   at a distance are heard on sight.

Unbound beginnings skimming the sea-gold grain on a windless day.

A door opening inwardly through twice-spoken tears


                                                           into the mind.


A bellow for the breath –

    two shocks short of balance.

A line sown into place.


An aureole blur,

the cadence of a man’s step –

                                     “whoa buddy.”

Conversation, out of earshot about a tree never seen before.

A child fussing over the toy

                            knocks down a wall in perception.


Two doves outside the window peer in and pace.


                                        Fly off moments before the horn.


Branch broken on the threshold,
making sense to no one else – 
a temporary gateway. 
Feeling breath on the face – 
a humming of the blood’s 
metallic strength.   

An elsewhere here,
where another constantly follows
calling one’s name…

A thrice-heard voice 
amid the dust from bullets,
marking life.

As near to where one stands
as the seventh heaven’s    
source of belief.

Shining in the shadows
of an exile about to end,
pushing toward earth.

Not explaining “here” and “hereafter” –   
a wave sculpting the rock 
it wears away.

Michael Lee Rattigan (Caterham, UK) has lived and taught in Mexico and Spain, and translated the first complete collection of Fernando Pessoa’s Alberto Caeiro poems (Rufus Books, 2007). His first poetry collection, Liminal, was published in 2012 (Rufus Books). He contributed to the Selected Writings of César Vallejo, published in 2015 (Wesleyan Press). His latest collection, Hiraeth, was published alongside its French translation in 2016 (Black Herald Press).

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