Two poems by Martyn Crucefix

 
 

    Enviousness

 

You’ve fought this for so long but comes the time
you understand
you are second rate
no more that brightness with which you shone

now worn thin and opaque as milk
or rather—how it goes—perhaps it never glowed
so brightly that boldness
with which you addressed the world has paled

to a white feather
all the while from your new place in the crowd
greedily you watch
the blurring of his steps

penetrating as language streaming across
the dark gulf of world
or piercing the mazy recess of his mind
through the flimsy tissues we dress ourselves in

the flattering of green and beige
those faddish opinions sketched in scumbled brown
you’d once make ironic gibes about
now you seldom dream of better—

O haven’t you realised this is the point
of all those books the stats
the strict diets the practice schedules
all those occasions when you tried to shorten

the time to extend the distance
to have just one
climb into the topmost drawer to be the best—
instead you discover it’s enviousness

you’ve bred attending to his glitter and roar
you’ve lost out to the swift morse
of his feet transporting him
to the uttermost point from where—

in triumph—he condescends to you
yet even this he does with such grace and elan
you have to take it on the chin
you don’t even have it in you not to love him

 
 

    Occlusion

 

Ninety steps to the elegant cathedral
the nave designed
by Guillermo Bofill
the widest outside St Peter’s in Rome
yet this morning it has grown dark
and noisy too
with this tall big-boned black-aproned woman
wielding her growling vacuum
as her ancestors ploughed the soil perhaps
with that same up-turn-
down-turn motion
she follows the metre-wide brush
across flagstones determinedly
to pick-up tickets or pebbles or swirls of dust
or coins of the smallest denomination
and when she’s done
she yanks the plug by the flex from the wall
and for the few worshippers
still upright and motionless in the pews
it’s as if an orchestra has been hushed
its rich drone subsiding
as if slowly the gathered autumnal clouds
occluded sunshine from the cloister
two young priests at that moment hurry by
one showing a brief flash
under his robe a white-ridged Nike sole
that squeals on the flagstones
as the vacuum fades
from throaty to nasal to hum to nil

 
 

Martyn Crucefix

About Martyn Crucefix

Martyn Crucefix’s recent publications are 'Cargo of Limbs' (Hercules Editions, 2019), 'These Numbered Days', translations of the poems of Peter Huchel (Shearsman, 2019) and 'The Lovely Disciplines' (Seren, 2017). 'O. at the Edge of the Gorge', was also published by Guillemot Press in 2017; 'The Time We Turned' by Shearsman Books in 2014. Martyn has translated the 'Duino Elegies' – shortlisted for the 2007 Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation – and 'Sonnets to Orpheus' by Rainer Maria Rilke and the 'Daodejing' – a new version in English (Enitharmon, 2016). He blogs regularly on poetry, translation and teaching at www.martyncrucefix.com