Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Citrus Variations

by Neil Fulwood

     Here comes a candle
     to light you to bed
     and here comes a chopper
     to chop off your head
            – ‘ORANGES AND LEMONS’ (trad.)

Here comes a whetstone
to kiss the blade’s edge
and here comes a finger
held against it to check

Here comes a swear word
at the clean deep cut
and here comes a dressing
as the blood wells up

Here’s the sharp sulphur smell
of a match struck on stone,
here’s the candle’s nub
and the flame’s blue cone

Here’s the hot drip of wax
on a bare patch of skin,
here’s the light guttering out
at a sudden cough of wind

Here’s the house in darkness
and its clutter of things
that account for stubbed toes
and the scraping of shins

Here’s where the dropped matchbox
is left unretrieved,
here’s the shadowy staircase
and its symphony of creaks

Here’s a long slow ascent
as your hand grips the rail,
here’s a door like a tombstone
and your nerve starts to fail

and a shape in the moonlight
slides from under your bed
and here comes a chopper
and there goes your head

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