What did I see on that road
the one that had no name?
three grottos for giant Buddhas
and a blue virgin in a veil,
blossoms trampled by passing feet
a sweet perfume released,
walled gardens of stone obelisks
each one facing East.
I watched my reflection in shop windows,
dumb models staring back at me,
trying to hide their nakedness
so that I wouldn’t see.
a circus parade brought people rushing on the street
but they were just looking for a löst elephant
with silver bells upon its feet.
carpenters with trunks of trees
carved them up and down
trying to keep up with the brisk demand
that came from Cookham Town.
the blacksmith on his anvil
aborted sparks from pregnant steel
driving them to Limbo
unbaptized with no appeal.
By the time I got to Cookham
it was over, already done
people were on their way back home
I heard one man whisper
as if afraid of being betrayed:
‘At least this time, they can’t put the blame on Rome.’
Photo: Stanley Spencer’s ‘The Crucifixion’ Cookham
© (Löst Viking) ( November 2015) John Anthony Fingleton