The Marschallin: ‘Sometimes, in the small hours…’

Your ear like a shell, cream-coloured

And tinged with a flush

Around the smooth edges,

Almost transparent

In the early sun.


Your skin like finest sands

With the dawn upon them.

A curling lock of your dark hair,

Lank on your forehead,

Moist with the night.


Your neck proudly arched,

Like a harp’s harmonic curve,

Strings echoing a chiming clock.

And when I rest my head on

Your youthful breast

I hear the faint sound of passing time…



A Woman and a Boy in a Box: rehearsing ‘The Turn of the Screw’

Her look, a muted moan, brimful with self-mockery, doubt,
Searching above my brow, never meets my eyes.
The smell of fear obscured by some pastille perfume,
Pervading the very air I breathe.

Sharp eyebrows thundering,
Her anger tears the fabric of illusion;
Then – after a moment’s hesitation – it is sealed again,
Leaving searing scars somewhere deep.

I turn, I bow, I kneel, I freeze,
Let the storm blow over my bent head,
My scourged shoulders stinging with the echo of the pain
Hidden in her half-turned face.

She smoothes back her hair, controlled again – spent?
Takes her hat and coat, snuffs out the candle.
One step, two, she is out of the box, gone.
The only remains inside: her scent, and I – suffocating in the dark.

© jsmorgane