My brothers said your lips were blossom
on a winter branch
but you kindled a fire
that burnt like the beacon on Mount Ida.
For a year my every footstep was sure,
my aim was true.
Then your lashes fluttered,
for an instant, and a spear flashed home.
Back then I took beauty for divinity,
I wouldn’t do it again
if only I weren’t dwelling
in this darkness, on the outside, at the end.
* * *
Demeter and Persephone
Everyone had their own troubles that year
when the barley failed to ripen and swell.
So no one much heeded the old woman
yelling about a lost daughter and hell
they certainly didn’t notice her hair;
which in the sunshine was more gold than grey
that she spoke with a full set of white teeth,
or the withering power of her glare.
Meanwhile, below the wagon-rutted mud,
deeper than rotted bones and layers of silt,
a child’s bruised lips wore pearls of blood;
the seed, the sacrament, betrayal’s blush.
In spring the girl turned up in a plough channel,
the curve of her belly pale as an asphodel.
Andy S. Barritt is a poet and writer based in the East Midlands, U.K. and currently a part-time student in the MA Creative Writing course at Nottingham Trent University.
His influences, or at least inspirations, include the poetry of Kenji Miyazawa and Osip Mandelstam, and the writing of Ursula Le Guin and Maxine Hong Kingston. Apart from reading and writing he enjoys ornithology and wuxia movies. He is on Twitter: @AndySBarritt