The Complaint of Elizabeth Siddal
Dante Gabriel was,
Laudanum is my love. Millais
shouldn’t have let the oil-lamps
go out. Maybe I could have
brought it to his attention?
Flaunted my Pre-Raphaelite artist-
cum-supermodel eminence, rather
than play shy millinery girl?
Let my auburn hair be
the assertive phoenix to
replenish my soul’s existence.
Could Rossetti have let his
wick burn down so quick, before
turning his eyes to Jane; & then,
in pathetic remorse, immortalise
me as his Beata Beatrix?
All men are the same.
They raise you to the Earthly
Paradise, but later kick
you down to Hell clutching
a mouldy, half-eaten
pomegranate. Dante Gabriel
was, Laudanum is my love.
Let fire be my sublimation.
The Complaint of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
My dove has absented her dovecote,
transformed her drapery into a furnace
& apotheosized wholly into Beatrice.
Didn’t I discover, & didn’t I
monopolise her radiant genii loci?
Willingly climbed Mount Purgatory.
Thames mist is an oppressive smog;
it doesn’t, like the Arno, scintillate me;
yet I will try to be a better man & poet.
Have measured my own easels, bedsteads,
but the benchmark can be an illusory notch.
Far more exacting now to etch out her eidolon.
Amber on amber, her immaculate halo’s
olfactory. Tasting her frisson, salt, saffron;
knowing manumission of her phoenix-brood.
She who found so many things in life addictive
once she’d turned her delectable mouth to it.
Her hands were lithe, lissom & well-practised.
We sometimes realise only when it’s too late
what seemed ours for the full Commedia.
This life tends to snarl in the darkest spinney.
Yes, I have consorted with other women,
took delight in their chthonic bodies, but
only one draws my eye to cruellest heaven.
Mark Wilson has previously published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio (Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (LeakyBoot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). He is also the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two. His poems and articles have appeared in: The Black Herald, The Shop, 3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, Dodging the Rain, The Ekphrastic Review and Le Zaporogue.
The Ekphrastic Review
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