IMMOTO PERPETUO – A Poem by Gareth Jones

To my daughter’s Lycidas



Over my daughter’s bed, where once a crucifix

Now hangs the Big Bang creed, exploding galaxies

Burst godless from old Einstein’s box of magic tricks

And end their wax and wane in lasting darknesses,


All voltage spent. No seven days, no outstretched digit

Bless us to wake nor iudex tremendus black-capped

Triage elect from damned, though Mary plead and fidget

The remote. Blank screen. Gone. Dead. Zapped.


What then you say, we’ll be long gone, in meteor

Or nuclear storm. The cruiser crashed by midnight rocker

Thrashes oceans choked, air trashed, while deaf to entreaty or

Prayer the pilot snorts at the reef and Jones’s locker.


Our footprint lost, implausible as minotaur,

Proud Knossos reaped ere scythe reap reaper and bless her

Anew, thrice more from algae into dinosaur

Till sun day’s eve, the wheely bins and crushing compressor.


Paradise lost to suicide assassinesses

Cosmos starved of star-warm harbours night-years hence.

Nor fantasy nor dream disturb not nothingnesses

Big bang snuffed, and mortified, belligerence.


But no nirvana. De-gautama’d boddhisatvas

Stranded, peace eternal sucked in whirl deferment.

No apocalypse now. Four horsemen asking what was

The way Buraq went through the blackened firmament.


I met a traveller from an astral land, who said:

‘Across that desert I have gone for years. Oh.’

‘Are we alone?’ I asked. Oblivious, he spread

His butter on toast and chewed and sighed ‘I fear so.’


I have a lake, in which I swim with open eyes.

On hearing him its fathoms froze and crushed me tight

As Shackleton in ice, Putin-bound Arctic Sunrise

With no hope of spring, no thaw, no land in sight.


If such a sage, with telescope and rocket probe find

Nothing in the decades of his lone vigilia

Chance it that ape sit elsewhere with a mind

To outdo Elsinore or Sistine, Goldberg or Ilia?


Life, ah, life, we are promised. Water. Atmosphere.

How long till waking membrane crawl from slime and stare,

How many aching ages more till mind appear

And mouth can utter words of eloquent despair?


So far, so distant! Spoken, stifled in the ether

Thoughts, if ever heard, my friend, a cruel deception.

You’re long gone. My answers timed out never see the

Light nor reach your app. No network. No reception.


We are alone. Our eyes alone may see, ears listen.

Only our words can speak this truth, our brain ferment it.

Die, and thought dies with us. Lie, the truth dies with us.

Never again shall stars be seen, their death lamented.


Fate more strange than words can utter or faith can name.

Onward through this desert, millstone tablets in rucksack

Of muslin, seam-splitting, we have only ourselves to blame

If cunei misinform or hieroglyph spell cul-de-sac.


Daughter, kindness is your birth sign, thought your zodiac

Words your precious gift to man, all given and all giving.

While waves crash on Dover beach, listen, no prozac

Needed here. But only laughter, loving and living.


You too soon are future perfect conjugated

By each breath of yours that shall have been preceding.

Weep not, daughter, for that friend you loved and hated

Watch that lodestar, fiery comet now receding.


She was. She is. She shone. She shines. In time she remains.

And we, like her, once gone, in time will ever lie,

While gods ne’er were, nor shall be, nor deserve our pains

For death itself will die but this was said. Don’t cry.


No, hurl no curses at that absent deity

Whose infant victims stretch into infinity,

Whose chrism launders every gross velleity.

He is not there, thank god, to face eternity.


Only those runes, the endless toils of our transmission,

Crucifix still, though strength falter and fury frighten,

Gallop them through those shifting sands, resurrect and listen,

Desert winds have soothing words that teach and enlighten.



© Gareth Jones, 7th September 2014


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