Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2009

Mourning Chorus

by Katherine Wood

They lit the night, set the sky ablaze
tossed myrrh upon the fires of our distress;
soothed wounds pink flesh ne'er licked clean
ripped open and charred, new-black,
burning hands of burning minds.

Listen, for we will sing sweet lullabies,
to drive the dark away.

Dogs howled, and still, within the silence,
fireflies dance on the eastern hills.
Fallen snowdrops, frosted on the green grass
of the hall carpet, just a mess
the crushed white eddies,
bonechill of a winter city.

Look, we sing our lonely lovesongs
to keep all cares at bay.

For how long have I roamed these streets,
worn by my feet, scattered with my dust.
Now where's that little scruff dancing in the cobbles?
He's lying in the gutter, playing with the lead
bopping to a harsher music,
bloodied with the dead.

Can't you hear them calling in the dark?
They writ their cries in dried red ink.

Drenched with sea salt, sweat and cool air
beacons blazing as the quavering stoves
give forth clean water, gushed to gaping mouths
families pressed together like the flowers
'tween milk-white pages of the holy book.

Now, we sing like the moonlight will never touch
these roofs, these hands, these mouths again;
Empty voices, go!
Set sail for worlds of starry peaks, eternal flights
forever, infinite, without end
of our great love, that ebbs and flows
as the waters of the endless sea:

O, will we never reach those foreign shores?

Added: 13.04.2009