“The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries out in terror before being defeated.”
— Charles Baudelaire, Le Confiteor de l’artiste
of Karelian peasants,
you are like aging ice,
blackened & treacherous –
but a warm, steroid smell is about you,
intimate & familiar, like my sister’s. –
Your nervous, impatient speech
is rich with mysterious sibilants,
high & resonant, hissing like a
& as you sound your cold, coherent
contempt, the dross of mundane
temptation is waiting in ambush
like a ditched malicious engine.
Pale street lamps cast shadows
about the snow slush & there’s a
reek of cold rust wafting across the
empty square, foul & electric.
I heard a door shut
& I had to go.
Peter Bies © 2010