These days they say she’s sometimes mistaken
for the revving of a little petrol engine –
her propulsive churr-churring lost in the dark.
But age-old tricks can still be made to work.
Launch a white handkerchief into the air
and – if you are lucky – she’s gliding there,
attracted to you like a catch in the throat,
summoned by signs of life – the hot, the salt
of sudden tears you’d rather were hidden,
making your nose run like a child’s again.
Or she’s drawn to the blood-spill of hurt
that opens flesh and bone. Or she will start
from the dusty roof-space above the bed,
find you wiping love from between your legs.
The white flag of individual weakness
is what serves always to conjure her best
as when old habits, uncertain eyes give out,
when it’s dark wherever they put the light,
she comes then – I think – and this time stays,
cover him, cover him, cover his face.

by Martyn Crucefix

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This week’s poem, ‘Invocation’, is copyright © Martyn Crucefix, 2010, and reprinted by permission of Enitharmon Press.

Notes courtesy of Enitharmon:

Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published five collections, including An English Nazareth (Enitharmon, 2004). His translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies was published by Enitharmon in 2006, shortlisted for the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as ‘unlikely to be bettered for very many years’ (Magma). Crucefix’s new collection, Hurt, from which ‘Invocation’ is taken, was published in 2010, and you can find more about it at Enitharmon’s page here, where you can also hear the poet read ‘Stag Beetle’. More of Martyn Crucefix’s work can be read at this link.

Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. Discover more about Enitharmon here.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.