Spring, 1604

A new land or

the same land reached

in negative.

Dark blossom.


the now silent sundial

a trio plays, face half-hidden,

a sour deception.

April arrives

and all the green’s one curse.

The gangster and the pimp invades the courts,

force innocence at knifepoint and convert

pavanes to blasphemy.


of magic now to sever friend from friend.

Daylight’s a spill of mist, and night

is absolute between the puttering torches

glinting on shed blood.


memories of other Mays,

the wonder echoing from seashore

and riverbank and glade. Dazzle

the one ingredient of all,

each kiss rimmed with sun,

disguise postponed delight.

That gold

has hardened to a killing blade,

the poisoned rain

leaves iridescent pools in ditches,

rots the rose.

Beyond the future,

unconsoling now,

what unimagined island may

blend fair with foul, bring what’s thought lost

back dripping radiance from the sea?




from A Puzzling Harvest: Collected Poems 1955-2000 (Anvil 2002), © Harry Guest 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Harry Guest in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.