Pat Jones

Smooth-faced Bard

by Stephen Collington

And there’s the ring you left in the bathtub,
high-water mark of the soul, where a tide
in the affairs of men checked its long, swollen ride
and lapsed again, in lines of soap, skin, stubble —
the foam and fury of a sea of trouble
ended, mere sham, a residue of dream,
a figure seen faintly through shoals of steam
but haunting, haunting still... and there’s the rub.

No poems, no puns, no more! you cried, I’ve shaved
my bard
, and smooth-faced stooped to kiss me, muse
no more (inspiration failing) and soon,
too soon, alone.
                         And now you lie abed
with a new Patroclus, and grief-mad Ajax scours
the shore, and lyre and cymbal end their tune.
Stephen Collington is a writer, translator and poet living in Hamilton, Canada. He has studied English and East Asian studies at the University of Toronto, and comparative literature at the University of Tokyo. Bathtub scrubbing he learned at home.