Martyn Crucefix

Featured Poet: Martyn Crucefix

Martyn

.

The lovely disciplines

See Ginny’s son and Ginny’s daughter-in-law
rest useless hands on the raised bed-rail

stare down to where Ginny writhes and squirms
her slender left arm reaching O so high

while her bare right calf lies crooked across
the cold retaining bar as lucky Jane all day

scuts with her bird-like legs folded under
to clear the turning wheels of her chair

while she roams the ward her working shoulders
pump each shove as if she’d tear herself clear

of the purple seat while Michaela’s throat
goes sucking great holes in the hospital air

and rubs itself raw till she’s like a bull-seal
honking on a distant shore she may have once

defended open-eyed though no-one here
believes Michaela will stir—no brighter hope

any more for Linda where she settles quiet
in her purple dressing-gown beside her bed

neat as a serviette her eyes fixed on a man
from her V of hands while he stares at her

from his V of hands the woman who he moved
for years coterminous with who now prefers

distance and darkness and being dumb . . .
O no more those lovely disciplines

we reassure ourselves it’s human to pursue
and no more those sweet acts of will

we treasure briefly or we take for granted
consoling ourselves that we will be spared

the horror of long blue rooms like these—
the slack and supine and all the twaddle

of decay and we persuade ourselves
that the truth need not be so bleak

as it seems for these who hold the floor today
who turn barely more than one leaf turns

in being blown to the gutter who seem
as nothing to themselves if more to others

who come with names they cannot let go
murmuring Ginny Michaela darling Linda Jane

.

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published 5 collections, including An English Nazareth (Enitharmon, 2004) and Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010). His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies was shortlisted for the 2007 Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as “unlikely to be bettered for very many years” (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus was published in 2012. Information can be found at Poetrypf also see Enitharmon.

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5 thoughts on “Featured Poet: Martyn Crucefix”

  1. You don’t spare us with this poem. You give us a shake. Thank you. Love the word ‘coterminous’ which is new to me. Also read and enjoyed your “Calling in the dark” at the PF site.

    1. Many thanks – coterminous is a word i think I borrowed from the great late Seamus Heaney. But it seemed the only right one here.

    1. Thanks Robin – it won 3rd prize in the recent Kent and Sussex competition – so it must have been connected with that i think.

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