And They Would Call Her Maenad

A meditation on the subjugation of women in a liberal society.

Image Credit: 
Public Domain

An unkempt clearing flattened by boots
tells of the nomad’s mournful life
made of a series of abandonments, grand and small,
her trail of wastage laid bare for me

to find beyond fence and field.
The clack of a cricket bat and ball
sharply met hurtles through the brittle
wood like the affluent call of an exotic bird.

A rucksack full of dirty shirts.
Faded food packets from a time past.
A wood panel, shoe-scraped, warped
and damp. A sense of her presence, retained

in this space and felt in her absence.
Components in place and as they were left
that wait for a settler who’s never to return,
a singular beam of all absorbing light.

A lawnmower’s engine parps through the wood.
A quarrel of sparrows bicker across its canopy.
Little wings hit leaves and patter like rapid
gunfire. A branch falls on the wanderer’s old home.

With engine’s pause, the dell swells
with psithurism and aches with not long ceased
activity, a solemn energy found
in the clutched air of a fresh tomb.

To break the uncanny sense of calm that trips
my heart I throw the wood panel over.
Woodlice scatter. Ants crawl with eggs.
A couple of ladybirds run like drops of blood.

Matthew George Mullins is a poet and musician from Margate, Kent. His poetry deals with nature, isolation, alcoholism, death, and religion.

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