Reading Titus Andronicus In Three Mile Plains, N.S.
Execution Poems (Wolfville, NS: Gaspereau Press, 2001): 25.
1Rue: When Witnesses sat before Bibles open like plates
2And spat sour sermons of interposition and nullification,
3While burr-orchards vomited bushels of thorns, and leaves
4Rattled like uprooted skull-teeth across rough highways,
5And stars ejected brutal, serrated, heart-shredding light,
6And dark brothers lied down, quare, in government graves,
7Their white skulls jabbering amid farmer's dead flowers -.-
8The junked geraniums and broken truths of car engines,
9And History snapped its whip and bankrupted scholars,
10School was violent improvement. I opened Shakespeare
11And discovered a scarepriest, shaking in violent winds,
12Some hallowed, heartless man, his brain boiling blood,
13Aaron, seething, demanding, ."Is black so base a hue?."
14And shouting, ."Coal-black refutes and foils any other hue
15In that it scorns to bear another hue.." O! Listen at that!
16I listen, flummoxed, for language cometh volatile,
17Each line burning, and unslaked Vengeance reddens rivers.
18I see that, notwithstanding hosts of buds, the sultry cumuli
19Of petals, greatening like the pluvial light in Turner's great
20Paintings, the wind hovers -.- like a death sentence -.- over
21Fields, chilling us with mortality recalcitrant. (Hear now
22The worm-sighing waves.) Sit fas aut nefas, I am become
23Aaron, desiring poisoned lilies and burning, staggered air,
24A King James God, spitting fire, brimstone, leprosy, cancers,
25Dreaming of tearing down stars and letting grass incinerate
26Pale citizens' prized bones. What should they mean to me?
27A plough rots, returns to ore; weeds snatch it back to earth;
28The stones of the sanctuaries pour out onto every street.
29Like drastic Aaron's heir, Nat Turner, I's natural homicidal:
30My pages blaze, my lines pall, crying fratricidal damnation.
RPO poem Editors:
<b>This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of George Elliott Clarke or the Gaspereau Press permissions department.</b>