A poem for europe

The New European - - Eurofile - A poem for Europe is edited by Bri­ony Bax, Po­etry Ed­i­tor. Sub­mit your po­ems to po­et­ryed­i­tor@the­neweu­ro­pean.co.uk

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.

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