À Une Femme Africaine
(After Baudelaire)

Desire kindled by impossibility,
My heart’s grown a chart of its own exile,
Border-posts on fire, meridians awry.

Distant four thousand and salt blue miles
Again I see her treading sunwhite sand,
Igniting my everyday with night;

The cold north sky beneath which I write
Is rolled back like so much old carpet,
Ocean and desert packed within a sigh –

Lithe souvenir! Sinuous spectre!
Out of a blaze of loneliness I sing her –
Though absence dupes, distances disguise.

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | Dialectic: Staffroom 3