Issue 2: Nathan Thompson

apparitions of Mary


all the upheavals of the preceding centuries

how out of both religious and secular declined

a background of change

                                          a serious rival

began to lose sight      the great wealth

seemed very tempting      especially when

to do anything much to remedy all this

            not until 1519 was conquered by Cortès

the distance went first      grass

further away than      hills      mountains shrunk

into psychology      out of the gaps that were left

between my fingers when I held my hand up to the sun

came      sun      real and slick and imaginary     

                                 I could feel

its hot wings close around and lift me      I was very

and not at all alone with myself      I found

germination was easy      not that big an idea

the moment when the revolt had grown to such proportions

this was an inclination      aged 57      surrounded she smiled

in approval      to ask that a little house be built there

and to return in order to believe him

      climb back to the top of the hill and gather

flowers out of season      scoop up the wonderful

flowers so that my house may be built      all that

had happened      phonetic      she who breaks the serpent

under the roses sank to their knees and some

were bitten      held my breath and      making sense

of the imprint left by snow on me      learning

the journey across my eyelids became

      that's just how it happens      dogs barking

at night across the valley don't stop being dogs

      don't stop love     doesn't      and won't      who nobody

them love     

                         I'm ahead of myself and risking

becoming beautiful      no more or less as night fell

the snakes rustle out of the heat      the spiders

a prolonged beating made of the skins two miles away

crushed for a new beginning      contrasting in      the book

     came death      humility and disobedience

this      is

                       a reference      in England the process

it is too far to see the morning      clusters

below and above      image on her own hands dusted

with flowers      never again to myself this way           



the light 

[Source: Catholic Society Pamphlet: Apparitions of Mary]

not remembering the city

we strolled into the crowd

among the journeying faces one

had left his beloved child not quite alone

another straightens his hair

            around midnight yesterday

they carried your friend back to our house

I am in the house alone

counting the rose-buds under the kitchen window

into an antique book for idealized beauty

just a finger or a toe

fashioned for representations of love

it is as if we had read the newspaper

not thinking about any of it

because today is too ephemeral

forgotten with no signature

tomorrow the picture describes our celebrations

assembling people in the exercise ground

according to the lines on their faces

or failing that by height      a title such as

footsteps      or      it should be overcome     

a fictional character

Nathan Thompson grew up in Cornwall and studied at the University of Exeter, where he later lectured part-time in musicology.  His first collection, the arboretum towards the beginning, was published by Shearsman in 2008.

Copyright © 2009 by Nathan Thompson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.