Still Life with Goat’s Skull, Bottle and Candle
Now the colour has gone out of everything
skull, bottle and candle emerge from the twilight
glints of a grisaille world where white burns
with an artificial incandescence like the glow
of roman candles. Imperious,
the bottle is quiet, mysterious,
its shadows concealing as much
as revealing – its candle a flower blooming light
that bursts like a flash-bulb of astonishment
that this is all that’s left.
There is agitation in the still life
and still life in the agitation – the goat’s
horns writhe as though animated by
Grünewald’s hell bristled brush.
The empty eye socket glares at us –
‘Who you looking at?’ it snaps;
as the skull bone flares its angry nostrils
and haphazard teeth snap shut
on our minds.
This poem first appeared in Colin Pink's book, Acrobats of Sound (Poetry Salzburg, 2016).
Colin Pink lives in London. He writes poetry and lectures on the history of art. His poems have appeared in literary magazines such as Poetry News, The SHOp, Poetry Ireland Review, South Bank Poetry, Poetry Salzburg Review and on-line at Ink Sweat and Tears. Acrobats of Sound, a collection of his poetry, from which this poem was taken, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2016.
11/6/2018 03:45:44 pm
There's so much to like about this poem and how it responds to the Picasso, starting with that wonderful first line. I also love the word play in the repeat of "still life," the rhyme of imperious/mysterious, and that justifiably grouchy goat skull.
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