GOATS AND MONKEYS - Sabine Baring-Gould Poems


Poems » sabine baring gould » goats and monkeys

'...even now, an old black ram
is tupping your white ewe.'

The owl's torches gutter. Chaos clouds the globe.
Shriek, augury! His earthen bulk
buries her bosom in its slow eclipse.
His smoky hand has charred
that marble throat. Bent to her lips,
he is Africa, a vast, sidling shadow
that halves your world with doubt.
'Put out the light', and God's light is put out.

That flame extinct, she contemplates her dream
of him as huge as night, as bodiless,
as starred with medals, like the moon
a fable of blind stone.
Dazzled by that bull's bulk agaisnt the sun
of Cyprus, couldn't she have known
like Pasiphae, poor girl, she'd breed horned monsters?
That like Euyridice, her flesh a flare
travelling the hellish labyrinth of his mind
his soul would swallow hers?

Her white flesh rhymes with night. She climbs, secure.

Virgin and ape, maid and malevolent Moor,
their immortal coupling still halves our world.
He is your sacrificial beat, bellowing, goaded,
a black bull snarled in ribbons of blood.
And yet, whatever fury girded
on the saffron-sunset turban, moon-shaped sword
was not his racial, panther-black revenge
pulsing her chamber with its raw musk, its sweat
but horror of the moon's change,
of the corruption of an absolute,
like a white fruit
pulped ripe by fondling but doubly sweet.

And so he barbarously arraigns the moon
for all she has beheld since time began
for his own night-long lechery, ambition,
while barren innocence whimpers for pardon.

And it is still the moon, she silvers love,
limns lechery and stares at our disgrace.
Only annihilation can resolve
the pure corruption in her dreaming face.

A bestial, comic agony. We harden
with mockery at this blackamoor
who turns his back on her, who kills
what, like the clear moon, cannot abhor
her element, night; his grief
farcially knotted in a handkerchief
a sibyl's
prophetically stitched rememberancer
webbed and embroidered with the zodiac,
this mythical, horned beast who's no more
monstrous for being black.