I’m moonless as tonight’s sky, helpless
as a rabbit’s blind and furless kits
and in my body’s cave misgivings hang
from the walls like folded wings. To combat

thumping pain and racing fear, I picture
a Matisse-red room with French windows,
potted palms and a half-naked woman
lounging on a sofa, then the yellow surprise

of the first drifts of daffodils trumpeting
spring to morose February this morning.
It doesn’t work and the silence is implacable
as the dark – I wish it purred like the cat settling

her warm self into the curve of my spine
to sleep but the black cat has long gone.
A tremble in the air – and there are my friends,
shadowy at first beyond my bed. Their outlines

slowly fill out with muted colours and now
they’re facing each other in two rows
as if for a formal dance. They reach out,
join hands across the divide. I gaze

at their arms which seem to form the ribs
of a boat, the kind ancient kings were buried in
but this is no death ship – it’s a hammock
they’ve made for me. The moment I lie down

it takes my body’s burden. No one speaks
but touch has its own language. I let go
of distress and feel such lightness of being
I could lift off into the blue like a damselfly.

© Myra Schneider

excerpt from Myra Schneider’s twelfth poetry collection, Persephone in Finsbury Park, which was published last month by Second Light Publications and launched for Myra’s 80th birthday. It is available through p f poetry site.

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