Hybrid of baby and angel
and Bacchus too,
clutching as he does
a bunch of ripe grapes.
When I stood before him
that bright Saturday,
I felt how he'd have been at home
at Versailles, with all those other deities,
but now, holding the photo,
I see how his left arm
was blown apart,
that his face is chipped.
ODE TO BREAD
Sacrament and daily need.
A kneading and proving and rising.
A friend of wine,
feeder of every mouth through the winter,
warmer of kitchens.
Tactile in paintings,
keeping company with bright lobster, glinting fish,
a glass of port, a melon.
Bara brith. Cottage loaf.
And Pumpernickel: dark and earthy.
Carrier of ergot inadvertently,
vision-giver, provoker of dreams and riots.
ICE MAIDEN, ALTAI LADY, SIBERIAN SHAMAN
After embalming her with peat and bark,
after dressing her in wool and felt and wild silk,
place her in this felled tree's hollow.
Wrap the tree in leather.
Cut snow leopards into the leather
and deer that graze and deer that run.
Sacrifice six horses.
Ink her skin with creatures with horns
that stretch and curl and sprout
Then crown her, crown her
with this head-dress dynamic with golden cats
Don't forget this yak vessel,
or the coriander seeds, powerful medicine.
Position the horses close to her body,
ready for galloping, for the long journey.
TO CLIO, MUSE OF HISTORY
Relocated, they say, to the garden of Nikolaus Pevsner.
I can't find any pictures, Clio.
Not of you as you were when grand
on the front of the Apollo
alongside your eight sisters.
Not in that garden.
So I conjure you up,
you, Announcer of Great Events,
tighter each year in a clinch of ivy,
your face increasingly mossy
as you witness the unfurling of summer,
smell woods in rain
and rest, come the winter, your ancient eyes
on holly's frosty leaves
and on waxwings, descending.
Copyright © Sheila Hamilton 2017
Sheila Hamilton's poems have been widely published in magazines, two pamphlets and a full-length collection. A new collection is forthcoming in 2017 from Green Bottle Press. Sheila Hamilton lives in the NW of England and is a reviewer and mentor as well as poet. Her work has appeared twice previously in Molly Bloom.