found in western Iran in the ruins of an ancient salt-mine
After the collapse,
a slow salting:
Skin stayed skin,
as it would in damp soil,
in the bacteria
we take as given.
Dark hair, dark beards went yellow.
No-one got balder.
And now they are here in glass-cases,
artefacts, and cured.
JANE THE FOOLE
The Queen's jester.
Jester of three queens,
Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr,
most of all, Mary Tudor.
Of simple mind and manners.
One where Nature has power over Reason.
a singer of ditties.
Ignorant as swine are ignorant.
Ignorant as the monkeys recently brought to Court.
Ignorant as Queen Mary's parrot
and as brightly costumed.
Funny by accident.
Mary Tudor is fluent
in Latin, Spanish and French,
familiar with the writings of Erasmus and Plato,
skilled at the spinet, recorder and lute
and with an excellent voice
but has not the wit of Jane the jester
who is a possessor and lover of many shoes,
wearer of velvet and damask
though a common person.
Jane the foole: joker, idiot, distractor,
Crumbs of plaster from laboratories, offices,
Baroque basilicas and Rococo chapels.
Chunks of cellars still pungent with flood.
Loose threads from laundries.
Particles of overalls and suits, jeans and hats
drift in the sunlight, hang in fog.
And all the while, fur floats off cats,
hair detaches itself from dogs: dander.
Here is some dandruff.
Here is an owl-pellet. . .
This dead hedgehog nudged under shrubs
sheds prickles, leaves a blood-trace,
Copyright © Sheila Hamilton 2016
Sheila Hamilton's poems have been widely published, including in Molly Bloom 5. She has a full-length collection, Corridors of Babel, from Poetry Salzburg and a chapbook, One Match, from Original Plus. She lives in the north-west of England and is also a reviewer and mentor.