Wouldn't it have been great if they'd had these available in London 400 years ago?
THE BLACK DEATH
“I have a bubo, mum,” my daughter said
and raised her sleeve to show me. In the street
the bellman cried aloud, “Bring out your dead.”
The heart of me froze like a drop of sleet,
dropped into my bowel when my darling child
Raised up her sleeve to show me. In the street
the crier’s bell rang out both dark and wild.
The end of time opened like a flower,
fell into my bowel as my darling child
showed me her fatal wound. Our final hour
blossomed before my eyes in Satan’s garden,
for the end of time had opened like a flower.
I felt the heart in me begin to harden
against a Deity who could ordain
such an evil blossoming of Satan’s garden.
What were the sins that could have earned such bane?
What sort of Deity could so ordain?
“I have a bubo, mum,” my daughter said.
The bellman called aloud, “Bring out your dead.”
-- Lewis Turco
Originally published in Trellis on-line magazine, Summer, 2007, www.trellismagazine.com/Currentissue.html#Villanelle%20Article. Also anthologized in
The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, Including Odd and Invented Forms, Revised and Expanded Edition by Lewis Putnam Turco, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England (www.UPNE.com) , 2012 • 384 pp. 3 illus. 5 x 7 1/2" Reference & Bibliography / Poetry 978-1-61168-035-5, paperback.