Milk by Tara Arkle

today's poem vertical

Not for Ted

Bedside, a glass of milk stands–how they lie
the soft tufts of their heads perfumed and oiled,
to bed, to bed, just bathed; tucked and folded, soldiers from this
night forward

the lie collapses in
memory is oh so dim and motherhood? that self annihilating screw
that fixes flesh till it’s blood runs–

a blue plaque marks the poet’s vale, a life less similar than ordinary scale
and Yeats no less betrothed–how like the sheathed dream specter breaks his odes,
and moans, “This night will mark the end of sighs and sleep so deep it coins the eyes!”

The jeweled hoar of midnight frost about you–Kore,
pomegranate stained lips, dark horses chariot the wake slip
disturb the jagged mantle, ice
hooves clop and clip the desperate night

in tip toe to the post box the poetess
delivers her last terms in her nightdress

whilst father soundly sleeps post coital
in the wedding bed, but not with mother
far from home the telephone rings hoarse roundabouts

the stove’s illuminating glare removes the rude rebuff of love—lies
feet out–you’ll show them how to write this one in Elysium,
love’s gentle flame expired grows noxious, bold
the glassy teat, white eyed

promises, lies, under the Laburnum tree shuts tight
maniacal bursts, hearse rides
the dogs are chewing mummies bones tonight
love, made Nazi lampshade bright
stole the willowing night

under the stilted house belly down
snake coiled and round she rose again to die again
this witch just keeps burning, bloating, jerking
seeds fruited out, crustaceous slick weed suckered closed
manacled pearls shape shifting words the gods of verse
cheek down head first into the frosted spring.


Tara Arkle lived in Paris where she was published in the International Poetry Magazine, Paris/Atlantic. She spent a semester studying Poetry at Harvard. A journalist, columnist, and broadcaster, in London, she moved to Bristol where her poetry was part of the 2014 Poetry Festival. Having spent two years working in the Domestic Abuse sector, her poem, ‘he had bedroom eyes’, was adopted by the International Women’s Group, The Soroptimists, and is read out at marches and meetings. Tara is currently working on an epic poem about The Garden of Eden.

1 thought on “Milk by Tara Arkle”

  1. Love this poem…and the rich layers of symbolism and intertextual reference! Would like to read more from this poet…

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