Noel Cobb

Honey Dew

Because we love Beauty, her ugly sisters rush
To sit at our table. Jealousy, betrayal, loss
And loneliness eat the food prepared for Her.

An abscessed tooth sent Coleridge to Xanadu.
Did 'dire poison' leave his body more in tune
With the ruinous reverberations of immortal soul?

Naughty, blue-skinned Krishna loves stealing milk.
But if mortals feed on honey dew, what dreams may come?
Boils on his neck, cramps in his gut, Coleridge dreams.

And if a red-haired harpy tries to pluck out your eyes?
Trapped on the crags of Scafell Pike, the poet sees pleasure,
Shame and pain swim through the air like scattered starlings.

What made great Kubla Khan each full August moon
Offer the milk of his snow-white mares
To spirits of the earth and air? Old superstition?

The Poet's nightmare-screams wake the households of his life.
The famed Distributor of Stamps denies him thrice. But can
Grim austerity ever find a passage out of Hell?