It was a lowly place, upon first look.
There was Madre, whose earnest eyes like smoke
Were melting in the firelight. Hands like great hooked
Anchors downward dove; on spiced air I choke,
Fresh lavender crushed upon my damp brow,
Rosemary and chamomile lifted to my nose.
Sweet ripe petals scattered o’er my breast like snow,
Pressed pinks, golden whites, rich bodied rose –
The deadly shades of birth did blur across
My scanty cave-rock bed. Shepherd’s Purse,
Bach’s flower, such Kelly-green and duck-egg moss
From Nature’s cabinet stole to blight the curse.
(She does not dress in wheat, but in starch white.)
Fresh sharp juices, orange and wild lemon,
Drizzle o’er my flaked lips: ‘Feel clean, feel bright,
Ma chérie.’ It is her beetroot face I see, in the dark evening.
When wee boys sleep, and whistle with the moor –
Dear Madre, your eyes still do solemn sing
Within the coal-black heart of this here whore.