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Lay for the Day
15th December

1970: a Soviet probe, Venera 7, makes the first soft landing by a human craft on the surface of Venus. It survives for all of 23 minutes. Best not mess with the Queen of Love.

Burning Venus

Burning Venus takes her sentinel station,
Over the fencing blocks she mounts her watchtower.
Let the night begin
With adolescents’ cries of mock-pain, ululation
Of sirens and blue light spinning through the final leaves.
Winter needn’t lessen
Our pursuit, nor cold skimp the crimes of Eros.
If we go well wrapped, the point still enters,
His aim is no less naughty.
The real God canŐt deflect the tearing barbs
Nor hate us when we step defiantly
Towards them, shirts open.
Does it grieve him when the terrible queen rises
Indifferent to the distant, sedate and ordered stars?
It must, since of all things
He knows the end. She wavers and beams more brightly.
His love is quiet and still enough to consume all
Many times over.
It cannot be filled or emptied, ultimately,
It cannot be avoided, yet is in the best sense


John Gibbens
from The Smell of Thyme


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