Rhea Seren Phillips
BEAR BILE IS EMBITTERING THE BRAIN
There’s a painful memory to this captivity.
Sock-high knees tremble under sweetened chestnut desks,
calloused elbows rub ink-smeared initials out
with neat boredom but feel the weight of the idle pen.
Tylwyth Teg cleave hollow bones of ychydig birds
as that bear bile embitters the brain, breaking
down as lipase digests spite- the lidless diplomat
keeps a stock of captive gall for personal use.
The boundless bit is cast as ash and manure
on soil’s rusted flesh, riving it so capillaries
entrench the mole who scampers away from the squall;
the invaders are still here, ruler in hand-
industriously set in stone.
Smoke the hive into submission
with promises of fruition
that lap sour nectar from the child
embalmed in honey, soothe the wild,
rocking cradle dire in the wind;
let them steal the honey and grind
Ἡμέρα’s servants with rue incense
that'll pollinate the keeper’s sense
until egos are stung back down
to size; the hive is left to drown
in myths that cultivate false hope,
sour hands scrape resistance with soap;
the swarm has extended the claw
to Nύξ who uncurls with a sough.
Copyright © Rhea Seren Phillips 2018
Rhea Seren Phillips is a PhD student at Swansea University. She is studying how Welsh poetic forms and metre could be used to reconsider, engage and accurately represent the changing cultural identity of modern Wales. She has been published in Cheval 10, Cultured Vultures, Writing Times and The Conversation. She runs Grandiloquent Wretches, a Patreon page that combines poetry, art and audio.