by Aidan Andrew Dun


is a pleasant curse.
I went out in a
slate-grey afternoon
where had been all
dry land the other day;
and met my double
on his dusk patrol.

Along a yellow
ribbon gravel-road
in fading light
we travelled parallel
he, talking of
himself as usual
I, watching twilight
in a magic glass
dark sky inflamed
with scarlet areas, still
subsiding from the
great November blast.

We found the floods
along the valley
mirrors of silence
laid out in square-miles
vast sheets of mercury
over the lowlands
unimaginable paradise
of waterbirds: Earth
soaked to the core
with tears.

With difficulty
we two moved-on
reaching the point
where catastrophe began.
The low sky darkened;
a foolish saga ran
with the usual machinery
of all foul weather
triangular electric
storms, bad faith
the deadly north-wind
of age-difference too
plenty of thunder
in the dead zone rolling
a proud girl waving
a chain of skulls
a good man old enough
to know better
I said to myself:
Well, nothing really new.

In the distance
a white horse refused
to enter the brown ocean
down a slope:
his woman-rider
would not turn him back.
We watched, and it
occurred to me
this was the doppelganger
being whipped, goaded-down
to the perilous black sea
where royal pride becomes
one more refugee
half-drowned survivor
from the waves of love
Odysseus crusted
with hideous crystal.
Slowly, warily
the animal waded in
up to his knees and snorted;
then drank, eventually
almost cavorted!

I felt detached, aloof.
An identical story
gave illusory distance
some relief: such
things happened rarely.
Here was grief, the cry
of one condemned
to self-reflect
to see himself
(memento mori)
as most narcissistic slaves
worshipping that difficult
sadistic mistress, Art
great in his own belief
but without success
to chatter in his ear
that greatness daily
without the polished lie
of self-respect.

And the sombre flood
lay there as proof
dark mirror of duress
reflecting clearly all
the world has cried.
How calm it seemed
the violence done;
how like the heart
at nightfall when
the last illusion’s died.
We stared across
a thin film’s dirty tide
a pleasure-lake for
feathered navies
a six-inch ocean
spread out