Each Side of the Solstice

Christopher Moss, Bleached winter grove

Christopher Moss, Bleached winter grove


Relict Land

Undead wych elms rise
from cliffs pathless & unstable
as if at this hour
above the talus old gods
wrestled their own myths

at risk from fungal pathogens
an ancient rowan rives
through skeletal yew
wild yew that lives forever
come hail come rain

soft downy rose
the skimmering night
bent into non-point figures
pine stumps human worked
align & orientate the mound

the glacial hummocky drift
to brackish gurgling becks
strings of blown eggs &
witchstones by tufa springs
scattered in the lower woods

Christopher Moss, Isolated Stack II

Christopher Moss, Isolated Stack II

Up Dale

So early dark &
much remains lost at night
before the year turns over

prostrate junipers on the scar
overblown sheep
& worm cysts like baubles

stone dump field banks
far out from the isolated stack
knowing oak & its off-spring

the stumbling pilgrimage
from earthwork to earthwork
ring cairns bared by ling burn

across to the Harkerside pear
where rain came on & the drift ran
back to Lemon Gill hearth

spent veins under snow
the spoil breeding
its own community

its low-key attractions
carved from waste greys
slag alpines

oak leaves among coals
corpse avoiding settlement
ferried in a wicker cist

each side of the solstice
holly shall burn
the dead’s cattle doled

Christopher Moss, Below Scar Clump

Christopher Moss, Below Scar Clump

Below Scar Clump

‘a priori of white clotid nuns’ *
over it rain
ruinous houses &
smelt winter arches

whirring in cedars
crows lime
stone lids
in the aisleless nave

leaf scrolls flank
diamond & trefoil
circles & right lines
to close all bodies

open to the roof
steps up through
feathers & ordure
chinks crammed with sods

our place of exile
wept into stones
from fell to folds
day edgy if late

smells like white spirit
surrendered without
murmur or grief
the ponds defunct

snatches of old lauds
its shallow depressions
faint earthworks
blocks of ridge & furrow

* Quoted from a medieval description of the Priory

Anthony Mellors and Claudia Azzola during the performance “Il suono delle parole e delle lingue”, 13 January 2018, Spazio Tadini Milano (photo: Silvia Pio)

Anthony Mellors and Claudia Azzola during the performance “Il suono delle parole e delle lingue”, 13 January 2018, Spazio Tadini Milano (photo: Silvia Pio)

«These are shrewd and bitter poems in which the tone moves from the outright comic to the moving sense of humanity trapped within concentric systems of media falsification and invention… should be bought and read by all those who want a sharp dose of acerbic medicine which could provide ‘a sure cure for all diseases.’»
Ian Brinton, writer, critic and editor

These poems belong to the unpublished collection Song Cycle; so far only ‘Up Dale’ has appeared online.

The sequence is based on Schumann’s Liederkreis, Op. 39 but is really a response to the culture of Swaledale, North Yorkshire, where the author used to live. He read the sequence at the 2018 Swaledale Festival, and his friend Christopher Moss produced the paintings (egg tempera and gilding on gessoed oak panel) to accompany.

Anthony Mellors was born in the fen country and educated at the universities of Sussex and Oxford. He is an historian of modernism and a founding editor of fragmente: a magazine of contemporary poetics. Recent poetry includes The Lewknor Turn (Shearsman Books), Sylphs (Five Seasons Press), and Confessional Sonnets (Aquifer Press), and earlier work has been anthologized in Britain, Austria, and the United States. He has been working with poetry, music, and dance collective Ghost Jam in Wales and London, and is presently completing a book-length project based on Schubert’s Winterreise, parts of which were performed at the University of Kent in October 2017.

Images and poems from Eurydike will appear in the next issue of the journal Snow.

(Edited by Silvia Pio)