Lepanto (im Cy Twombly) – Featured Poetry by Colin Pink

Lepanto (im Cy Twombly)

It’s a wake of sorts: procession passing, 
scrim of dream, blazon of nightmare. 

The battle is over; all that’s left scattered gifts:
driftwood limbs, blood stains diluted on the tide. 

The wounded carry their wounds always, visible
and invisible, sharp as sea-spray flung in the eyes.

The composite bow of time unleashes its quiver 
of arrows in sudden and fearful velocity.

The ooze of history seeps between our toes
as the sea swirls up at the lip of the shore.

Rocks of longing and loss, wilder shores of love,
fill the horizon with boats, each its own sunset.

A stigmata of blisters blossoms on our palms, our
oars dipping, sparkles surfacing, fish leaping. 

Rowing against the tide our strokes carry us
ever nearer to the elusive coast of Bohemia.

4’ 33” by John Cage

I used to listen to it regularly
in the dentist’s waiting room.
It would always start slowly:
a gentle slither and flick 
of magazine pages accompanied 
by the counterpoint of the distant
ringing of a telephone. I always
waited with constricted breath
to the sustained high notes
of the dentist’s drill that would 
hang in the air shrill as Valkyries 
advancing. The rhythm section 
was provided by the urgent 
syncopated beat of trains on the 
railway line across the street. 
But it always ended on the mezzo
sprechgesang of the dental nurse
‘We’re ready for you now.’

About the contributor

Colin Pink writes plays, fiction and poetry and lectures on the history of art. He has two collections of poetry in print: Acrobats of Sound, 2016, is available from Poetry Salzburg Press and The Ventriloquist Dummy's Lament, 2019, is available from Against the Grain Press.

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