Saturnalia Ed Foster



Ophelia, and the Reeds, at the Tate


(John Everett Millais, “Ophelia,” 1851-52)


In the fluid looking-glass,

potential’s like an angel’s wing,

though you go nowhere,

mother, on your back:

come, give,

give up to me,

your haunted wood.


Fly low and see the ground invert

its color: for green,

the wood emerges black;

every night’s a dream.

The images are dry.


You draw yourself

beyond the fear of sight

and wake to find

that books themselves

subdue your mirror:

no angel, saint,

but this bland mystic’s

commonplace deceit.


Strange how easy things become

when you say, simply,

I do not know.

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