The Bride Stripped Bare

I remembered Eliot on our wedding night,
The white leopards under the juniper tree

And how without a moment's thought
He shifted conversation to something less sinister

When asked what he had meant.
And you, too, the original runaway bride

Had something to say as you left me to shadows
That mimicked the terrible whiteness of clowns,

The unutterable fancy of a changing mind
That led me straight back to Tristran und Isolde.

In a kind of loving way you had done me a favour
Although I didn't know that, the one atrocity

The bride stripped bare leaving me to the silence of a mantra
That hummed and prickled like hot glass:

Shantih shantih shantih.

John Cornwall

If you have any comments on this poem, John Cornwall would be pleased to hear from you.