from Le Fanu's Ghost



OVAL HAZARD

Green baize will race your heart
    to nick the main
and come off clear

When all's tied up
    what's left to lose
bones in a shaking house

Glass at hand, veins of Burgundy
    let the deal go down
I'll scoop one in the rough

Who says desist another turn
    will set the seal
tip me a cool hundred

Same way you lose it, same way
    you'll get it back
ace, deuce and queen

If you cry about a penny
    you'll cry about a pound
sponge the picture and see

Hand is always faster
    double the stakes
it'll make my play today

A gamester isn't the friend you know
    he sits in black
on the plushest stair





SKULLSCAPE

Back of the blind the light hovers. Imagine stark imagine.
Strapped and buckled. A cushion receives the poll leaden
in time. Breath of past rubble-dubble. Last place of all to
try. A bit-and-brace silver-mounted. Cruciform, of course.
Keep your hands there. Don't let it drip. Begin now. Dead
silence of many seconds. Voices brief and low. Another
long silence. Then out comes the answer in a sort of
shriek. Murder--mercy--Mr ******. He lives up the river
with--with a--changed face.

One's mended, if only to expire. Some other has to fear
how truth runs far, winding and wanted underground.
Holy and awful. His walls close in a foot or two, the ceiling
drops down, his head is a little heated.

One-eyed choice will work things back, the dome proud as
the screw turns. A dip in a bone-white box with volta'd
title. Fellow budges when sung to, a little help to blunder
the bloggard. Rhythm attends such a passage, shaken by
tremolo, wild as a heart-luck queen in the corpse of night.





LORD EDWARD'S LAST GOODNIGHT

Now in the June heat I'll go
off elsewhere, leaping rapids again
finding a trail through silent forests

By canoe or tabargin I'll rove
to lie on a good spruce bed
and look at the stars

Where no titles divide and every man
is what he makes himself
where all ridiculous wants dissolve
fashion, duty, politics

They found me reading in bed
at a feather merchant's house
in Thomas Street--I threw Gil Blas aside
and struck with my dagger to spring
from the stalkers' reach

One down, two I dragged to the door,
took a pistol-ball in my shoulder
and the knife was wrested from me

I'll not dodge the tocsin of revolt--
what I have done through sense
(a line of advance on Dublin)
papers in my great-coat pocket
will show

Green silk around my neck,
I rode to the Curragh of Kildare:
Let any man who dares take it off

Paine's face was over my mantelpiece
at Kilrush, the man I lodged with
in Paris, whose rights I here uphold

From this grille like the theatre box
where I saw her first
I remember my wife, who lately I held
at Moira stables, stealing there in disguise

Which of my friends betrayed me
for a thousand pound fee
the roof may one day sing

Blas retired to the country
and if now the green turns pale
a shroud may turn to a flag--
my country you will be free

Goodnight, it's time to start,
I'd rather view rocks & creeks: the name
in my boot will carry the news


         Gavin Selerie 2005