Blackbox manifold

Issue 14: Martyn Crucefix

For Louise

the eye’s love of the horizon

We half circle the lake this evening

exactly as we planned to do

but no-one has given much thought

to this moment now divided by doubt

whether it’s better to push ahead

or better turn back the way we came—

the kind of question we always find

hard to fathom—on balance we go on

yet talking now of a time you saw

how lit up the city’s streets become

on nights such as this beneath low cloud

what to make of the austere moral




After Bonnefoy

Love let’s discover ourselves at such

a height as if light spilled from

the hour’s vessel and the mingling cries

a bright stream where nothing stays

but abundance itself so designated—

let’s find ourselves and seize

a handful of sheer pure presence

on the bed of morning the bed of evening

wherever time gouges its furrows

where the precise waters vanish into air

let’s bring ourselves one to the other

as if each was at last all creatures

and all things all empty ways

all stones all metals and all streams



O. at the edge of the gorge


Glossy black clods of these carpenter bees

swing the corner of the house

to bank into spindly lavender stems

to alight on blooms that stoop

with the able weight of their insect lives

oblivious bees bobbing

one moment wing beats easing off

then revving higher as he hears them

make away across the white clover lawn

past yellow broom

past lilacs feeding surely from roots

deep into a stash of royal Tyrian juice

lost to sight likewise each bee

vanishes into the gorge as if heading home



The six ferrous circles vividly vibrate

from the hill-top

dicing segments of human time

they divide in hope of making sense

of astronomical time marked by a light

from the east rolled out above

then tumbling westwards

to grow cooler beyond the Sibylline Hills

turning blue as a patient who is unreached

by any one of these bells—

he lives to inhabit their elegant portions

he samples each slice of sweet day

but come nightfall how can it be

these same let down notes he finds chilling



In this region of the fountain of the Vraud

religion turns to power to imprisonment

where Genet writes The Miracle of the Rose

the heritage industry opens its hands

to renovate walls scouring from east to west

a workman shrugs his jacket off I hear

him expecting warmth by noon it’s rain

his friend kneels to re-point the next stone

Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published seven collections of poetry including Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010) – ‘an exceptional ear . . . superbly intelligent . . . urgent, heartfelt, controlled and masterful.’ (Kathryn Maris, Poetry London). His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies (Enitharmon, 2006) was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as ‘unlikely to be bettered for very many years’ (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s The Sonnets to Orpheus appeared from Enitharmon in 2012. Recent original collections include The Time We Turned (Shearsman, 2014), A Hatfield Mass (Worple Press, 2014) and Daodejing: a new English version (Enitharmon, due 2015). For more visit