Francesco Levato

Aurora [ 4 ]

Oblivion gone, and left all again as smooth as scythe,

this flesh and devil, dark question slaughtered

broken, bare                             such bloody splendour

poured deep                             drinking blackness in default of air.

Here where it ends,                             a blood-stain whispered,

a chant for midsummer when flame fell silently from cloud to cloud.

What possible sphere of purer life?

[ … ]

After fevers notched here and there with knives

life struck sharp

this passage of delirium,

this awful lightning

like one in anger drawing back her skirts—

a blind ferocity, a glare unnatural,

all new and strange this world turned stranger,

these lips all weary and wormy with need.

I wept aloud, then laughed, then wept,

and someone near me said the child was mad.



Aurora [ 5 ]

Deep calling unto deep,

in his throat what seemed a name whispered

touched home, broke and blasted,

a cleaving of cloud, a flash of teeth,

those hands unguessed

prepared to wring from body

blood-bright eyes

and when the corpses lay stark-stretched

the worst watch of night gives way

and lay ruined amid the ordure, shards, and weeds.

The spear should fall, I say,

and once more canopy the world with black.

[ … ]

All things blurred               and dull and vague,

perished summers, some strange spasm of passion and pain,

naked-bladed I lay quiet there where I was thrown like spun glass

to assure their souls against dangerous questions shaken from the crease.

Mouths drawn sharply               soured at the ends and braided tight

this pattern pricked fibre from fibre with pin—

we are of one flesh.



Aurora [ 6 ]

Cloaked and masked               murder uncoils

stretches stark this rag of flesh,                             scrap of bone in dim disuse—

Mouth upon mouth, some fragment of a whole waxes warm,

speaks of consequence               of something dead that might live again,

half-burned-out and all but quenched               these motions of mine,

these waste ways unwandered—

What name for this?

[ … ]

Flood succeeding flood                             this incapable throat, these veins split,

we wear the night with empty hands,

a sense of separation, a blank obstruction—

Leave me breath enough to speak,

to pale and leave the world a-dusk,               for that is fatal,

their angelic reach, this inhuman doctrine.



“Aurora” is a series of poems collaged from “Aurora Leigh” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and “The Ring and the Book” by Robert Browning.


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