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Lay for the Day
12th February

The Roman festival of the goddess Diana.

The Huntress

Short as ever of time,
two meet in hourless gardens.

The colour of her sleeve subjugates him,
the colour of her hem and the blackbird’s beak
scissoring airs to strand them on the lawn.

“In art,” she says, “there’s plenty and enough
of mess, disguised as decoration,
an emptiness that blackbird’s never known.

“Don’t trouble your fingers with the frets
unless each string can strike a dart into my breast,
for I am Queen also of the hunt.”

Her cheetahs on silk leashes
give his ragging hands no room to fail.


John Gibbens
from The Smell of Thyme


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar