Issue Three

Spring 2012

 

Hanged Man's Lullaby



The tinker sleeps while his dog keeps watch
and his feet warm. They both growl quietly.
A brazier flickers by the caravan door.

The tailor sleeps, slumped across his table,
barricaded behind bolts of tweed,
the lamp turned down low.

The soldier sleeps, still counting everything:
rations, hits, days, seconds, his comrades.
Sleeping, he counts his body parts.

The sailor and the rich man sleep in each other's arms,
their pale legs sweatily intertwined. A pair of britches
on the floor, money on the windowsill.

The poor man sleeps next to his wife, five children
and his old dad. Hungry mouths open, they dream.
Let's leave them undisturbed.

The beggar man sleeps on damp newsprint
in a back alley. A scavenger fox approaches,
sniffs, yawns, cocks a leg.

The thief does not sleep. He is dead, hanging
from the gallows outside town. His face, turned
as if in search, is hidden by angelic-golden curls.

A breeze plays lightly with him, then leaves.
Overhead, a skein of geese flies by, telling jokes,
laughing, singing an old nursery rhyme.

Only the thief, unsleeping, broken-necked
at the end of the rough hemp, knows
their raucous voices, recognises the song.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed...

 

_________________________

 

Jane Røken

carved stone

peacock fractal