A poem for europe
CHRISTOPH JOHN is a writer and poet, author of the ebook thrillers Steel Wolf (Troubador 2015) and Gilgamesh (Troubador 2016), whose inspirations stem from his travels around Europe, its peoples, places, societies and history. He lives and works in South London. Photo: christophjohnauthor.co.uk
AFTER THE CIRCUS
(After Henri Rousseau’s Carnival Evening, 1886)
The heart is missing from the darkness.
We walk in the twilight of a summer dream, punctured by one shallow lamp, smoky clouds blown south. Under slick inky skies the beech trees waver, spiky thin, flesh-poor, fat and foliage worthless now the reaping has ceased.
Beneath our weary feet the debris crinkles, disintegrating the bedraggled harvest.
The carnival is past. The masks and costumes which adorn us grow heavy.
The fete, the circus, its comforting arms and extravagant feast was warm to our throats.
Sat on their wattle thrones, paper crowns tired in mourning, we saw the king and queen blessed by the mayor, that bloated old knight, his moustache and authority drooping.
On we walk. Our friends from Gädheim watch, separate, as we pitch to sleep.
Beyond us stands the soothsayer’s burrow, veil pulled, a bastard likeness snorting deception.
What does fortune tell the heart?
Will the sun rise still and the dew wet your stockings? Will I seek still the dense black aroma of your hair?
Will you whisper still the alien phrases I yearn for?
Will your kisses, once soft, still turn coarse and urgent?
The complacent knight on his charge will forsake our friends.
There is always another dragon to slay in the forest. The oracle decreed it and so the fool believes in paradise.
The darkness comes after us. Ambit is a 96- page quarterly magazine featuring art, fiction and poetry. Founded in 1959, it has witnessed the emergence of a multitude of writers, poets and artists over the years including JG Ballard, Fleur Adcock, Carol Ann Duffy, David Hockney, Peter Blake and Eduardo Paolozzi. It publishes emerging alongside established talents. Ambit will always bring you a mix of vital new work.