Monday 10 January 2011

J.L. Williams' Condition of Fire, second selection

This time, now that I've read and enjoyed the full collection, I'm offering some favourite passages. As I mentioned in the last post, it's inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses and the islands on which he wrote it.

What if you could change into anything?
What if you could live, and live, and live?

last stanza of "Proserpine Under a Tree"

Like many teenage girls it took
disaster for Io to realise
she was beautiful.

first stanza of "Io"

A winged creature flies toward the sun,
his [Marsyas'] entire skin in its mouth
like a paper doll.

last stanza of "Marsyas"

Sisters falling through sky
on sudden wings.

last stanza of "Metamorph"

They burn our naked feet
but we walk slowly.

last stanza of "Beach"

this castle for winds

from "Foundling"

Four monstrous footprints leading up the mountain,
the last one deepest,
as if pushed off for flight.

last stanza of "Banshee"

The sea's noise
is the speeches of drowning stones.

last stanza of "Morphemes"

and over there, on the run, history.

last stanza of "Caesar's Balcony"

In darkness,
beaten by moths,
you realise you are the light.


In darkness,
stared at by the starving,
you realise you are fire.

first and last stanzas of "Apotheosis"

J.L. Williams
(Shearsman, 2011)

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