‘prophets die better at a distance’
Michael Dransfield, Parthenogenesis
If he takes you to a place of fundamentals
leave your shoes
on the steps outside,
cover your head, open the heart
as far as cold winds allow.
Birch trees whip the winter sky’s luminous grey,
leaves crackle, and we must abandon
even our mildest notions
of punishment in this
foul but usual weather.
The alleyways are aisles
of marble, the famous
and the dead conveyed
to birdcage tombs, and the shrouds
are a crystallised rain.
Don’t ask Who’s the man
who elicits this profound silence?
The rain eats the stony faces of his
cathedral, and have you noticed they
are faces both uglier and more
beautiful than ourselves
as they come to watch
our lucid and more rapid disappearance.
© Adam Aitken