Janet Hatherley

Quake

 

Marcus, from his cradle, haul,

wrap arms around and run

on stone that shakes in enmity.

All I knew as solid, no more sure

than jelly made from quince,

as heaving ground moves sideways 

fitful from my sandaled feet.

 

Waves leap and slosh in mosaic pool

as if in rhythm with the sea

beyond the distant harbour wall.

 

Through yawning seats, then outwards, 

to the ampitheatre’s open space, 

where I, with others, stop – to gape –

at temples I have helped to raise,

soothe my crying son, as columns

crack in clouds of dust and fall,

witness solid Telmessos fall.

 

And in my ears, the roar of gods,

an anger, terrible to hear.

How little we men are.

 

 

After Suleyman the Magnificent:  letter to his wife

 

 My solitude, my one in a palace of many, I rest from life’s demands in your arms

your face, a calm moon soothing stars as it shepherds night skies, you restore me. 

 

My existence, elixir of wisdom, wines deep diffusing, divine drifting heavenwards 

awakening faint stirrings, a new born Spring, rose’s lingering scent, you delight me. 

 

My joy, sweeping my cares away, out with the lamplight, candle igniting the dark

bitter tang of an orange, pomegranate sip, torch to illuminate, you relight me.

 

My life, green rising plant, far beyond wealth, unspoilt and untouched, I reach for you

you’re my saint, my Joseph, sold as a slave to the Khan of old Egypt, you resolve me.

 

My friend, my everything, you are Stambul, Karaman, red dust of Anatolia

Baghdad and Horasan, gold flecked map of my world unfolded, you reframe me.

 

My sunshine, hair copper flames, arch of your eyebrow, when your eye’s full of sorrow

my life’s in your hands, my blood on yours if I die a martyr, non-Muslim, you renew me.

 

My beloved, at your door I will wait, impart on my ships to four corners your praises

my heart aches, it aches, eyes fill with tears, I am Muhibbi, I am happy, you define me.

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Janet Hatherley is a teacher from London, England who has recently come back to poetry.  She has attended Clare Pollard’s ‘Ways into Poetry’ class, is now attending Roddy Lumsden’s poetry group and has published in The Lake

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Since 2000, The Copperfield Review has been a leading market for short historical fiction. Copperfield was named one of the top sites for new writers by Writer's Digest and it is the winner of the Books and Authors Award for Literary Excellence. We publish short historical fiction as well as history-based nonfiction, poetry, reviews, and interviews.
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