portion of the artwork for Stephen Massimilla's poetry

Cynewulf Beneath the Hemlock Trees
Stephen Massimilla

One is amazed. Men, but stones.
Marginal as lightning-etched angel, in red,

Or so no drab, but one with the hair of a pythoness replied,
Between sculpted vine and was it psaltery?
Mitered with ravens in the trees, with regress …

I tossed tooth-shaped stones
In a decayed ring of rowan and ash.

Of why I ditched self-portraiture in that grove,
While the Queen’s Sir knew I was not bladed, I will not say.

Sparking the severance of that day,
She picked at gyrovague berries, tonsured
Blue pates:
                                         “Water headed
                                                                            where memory worsens
That she may dog him with bear mouth and broken brain …

Water spawned in poor light
                                         where the last salmon gasps.

              Of all other shadows,
Water leans in every face:
                                                               If arrested,
It cleaves.”

This is no answer, I accused her. What do you mean
Praise lament?
Lament praise what we
Hear too late or not at all? Who on earth
was she, anyway? When I insisted,
She only smiled, raven-stirred.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011