After Beatrice


The rose beds I recalled 
had gone - instead
you could discern
their remnant outlines,
verdant and sad
as unmarked graves.


Not knowing what to do
I rested here, among 
the bees and daisies
woven in the grass;
until the afternoon
was long in tooth.


Venus had veered south
when I was roused,
to find a figure
standing by my side.
She asked if I was ready?
- Yes, I lied.


We passed two gold
snakes copulating
in the dust
and a solemn poet
who transcribed 
their coded marks.


At the entrance
we advanced
- not down or up -
to isolation cells,
secular stations
of the soul.


Red buds amassed
and gently bled,
like bleeding hearts
on arching stems:
These, I was told
were manifold regrets.


Suffocating in
a wave of flies
and blue polluted skies,
my strange companion 
assured me - smiling
wryly - I'd survive.


Guilt bloomed like 
a carcass in the sun,
soft with decay
not tenderness - 
a corruption of
forgotten innocence.


From love I come
to love I go..
what did I do with it;
where did I bury it?
In the rose garden
all secrets are safe.


My love is sweet
as rowan berries
after the first frost;
but there is no way
in or out, not until 
you believe in one.

Happy National Poetry Day 2021. This poem was originally published in Obsessed With Pipework, and it can be found in my first collection ‘Wish’. It was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s figure of Beatrice, and his work, ‘La Vita Nuova.’ Thanks for reading.

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