Vincent O’Sullivan


Reading the runes

A score of pictures I’ve gone through, only
one I keep—a blue raincoat, black
stockings, a daffodil held against your side
in an English wood that is pure cinema

spring, the boles of oaks like the hides
of things there aren’t names for, the reach
of splayed twigs towards a sun that’s scarcely
there, the ground’s scurf of leaves

curled where they fell, months back.
Wind is a word from another country,
not the wood’s we walk. And the thin
buttery flower loose in your hand,

laid along your thigh. A photo that says
‘Hope doesn’t pay off, don’t hope’; says
‘No looking past the camera, towards
what’s next.’ I prop for a day

the unexpected picture against a lamp,
as if something indeed ignited from the season’s
turn, a trail suddenly vivid, quite
out of time; a stir when least expected,

as though the daffodil proves itself, what-
ever else; a fragment we’d better
call beauty, because nothing else
will say it, beauty like that, a blue

coat, a girl shy even at twenty,
a flare held down like a dousing
torch that shivers the wood, signals
at silence where nothing’s yet undone.




Author’s Note


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