THE CASTLE AT ARQUES (© Words by Paul F. Cowlan)

The sun hums in a ponderous arc,
fat, gold bustle flaming on cerulean blue,
and the walls of Arcady melt in a haze of pollen,
oozing inward to rebuild themselves.

It may take another aeon,
under this taut, breathless sky,
for the dry fluster of wings to dance out every secret.
Cathars, Knights of the Cross, Christ uncrucified.
Under thin cerements the mysteries pulse and batten,
each in a snug cell quarried from the comb.

Cicadas shrill in the yellow fields,
among wild orchids, clover, thyme,
and the glazed air boils with clear resins.

Regardless of questions,
some grave old bee-master still keeps the sweetest jellies back;
Rennes, Montsegur, Et in Arcadia ego.
Slick-sided cruses ranged and dusted in the dark.
Everyone has answers,
no-one has confirmation;
only turnstiles, ‘New-Age’ and guided tours,
with Poussin’s rustics posing
in magnolia, brick-dust, cobalt and citrine.

But still the bristling sun hovers,
and the walls subside and swell;
embrasures, arches, angles,
waxed, crystallized and moulded by the heat.

Buy a jar of nut honey,
spread it thick on fresh bread,
then sleep from twelve till two.
Dream if you must, but not too deep,
waking with fragments and non sequiturs.
A plaited dome, a gallery
where wombed seeds hive in swarms.