After the Painting 'Sponsa de Libano' (1891) by Edward Burne-Jones
I have walked along the path of time.
Now I stand, staring At the trees gasping for water, Their leaves crumbling to ash.
In a river bed, its bank dry, rippled; The last flow dissolves bones of old death, Feeds orchids of new life.
A smell of decay.
Silk billows above me.
And a song of sorrow tempts me upwards.
As, tranced, my spirit squalls.
Below, my body lies draped in earth's silk.
By Michaela Mann, age 17, who receives The Forward Book of Poetry, donated by Forward Publishing. Submitted by Liz Hinkley of Newtown High School, Powys, who receives the BPTeachers' Poetry Resource file, published and donated by the Poetry Society. For Poetry Society events ring 071 240 4810.
I might be put off a poem with the "path of time" in the first line, but there is a formal grace in the ordering of words here that fits the subject. I stumble against the abstract "orchids of new life", yet it balances "bones of old death". It is the final stanza which wins, me, particularly "my spirit squalls", and the Plath-like vision of the final line.