Considering Ovid


Three years old,
in polyester petticoat
and canary hued dress,
my father placed me
in bed with people who
were soon to be dead.

Spirits not-yet parted
from their tremulous flesh,
remaining aware,
they crave the young
without exception.

The bitter old
desire consumption,
the cannibal feast
of restored youth,
failed at by Bathory
and Snow White’s mother.

Soft toddlers flank
taken raw between stub teeth,
a cure for vanished time,
refreshing the blood.
I never settled with those.

Despite their kind words,
Their offer of chocolates,
their appetites grew
and I could not love them.
If I cannot live,
their soured eyes said,
why should this?

The old man
was of the other type;
with the thick white hair,
toothless and nearing
his century mark,
he sipped hi breath
through a tube in his nose.

He held me close
against brittle ribs,
sharing my warmth,
as if to say: yes.
Yes, I am going now.
I can finally go now.

This girl remains.
Breath of my breath,
though not of my blood.
My finger prints
shall linger on the skin
of her arms, to grow
as she grows.

The impression of me
carried on, living,
marked, clear
as Ovid’s hard stamp:
Now called by one,
now by another name;

the form is only changed,
the wax is still the same.
My soul can seek
her fortune out in some
other, brighter place,
in requisat life.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on May 14, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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