Clare Hornsby

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Saint Peter Martyr's Assasination by Jacopo Bellini

The Woods So Wild

Two falconers leave the silent city gate,
Birds blind in metal hoods,
Mounted on painted horses, invisibly
Ride to the edge of the woods.

Men are busy coppicing
Trim, saw, chop, hack.
Heavy hair, cumbersome tools in the stillness
The cinquecento afternoon.

Hidden in branch-shadow death stands
Holy young fools approach
Trees cry out wild
Birds fly in fear
Axe blows buried
Blood thick as sap falls on the foreground.

The past flows by oblivious
Its music plays unheard
Rafts of time tied by truth
Cut loose, now float alone
Tight dark spaces between the trees
Breed fatal discontent.

Yet high the heavy hover-falcons fly
Curve now to catch the last unspoken challenge:
Love, for ever
Quam dilecta