The Ghost Of Rachmaninoff - Poem by Sean Godley
Peeling from the death of sleep, and dead in all but breath,
A grinding glue doth wench my teeth, abrading contact coarse,
As though they fight in groups and for sole ownership of gum.
The pressure of the war makes tight the flesh, thus broken are
The bones that make to move, and eyes are frost and freeze to rest
Upon a single lively crack of roof.
If wind now rattled windows in their creaky pane of shards,
The sill would break into the wall and yet no sound would soar.
If lightning blasted at the skies, and tore into the trees,
The room may fill with starking blues, and yet no thunder might
Surpass the rising wails that try to steam their east escape
From aches that crack within my pressured skull.
As I sink into the coffin of myself, and tight
The wood is nailed into my nerves, and quick the level for
The sweat that recommenced about my bony back gives rise,
As half my sunken body lies and saturated, yet –
I am too limp to save myself from drowning dirges or
To hold aback weight-wrapping, sinking sheets.
The sweat and covers tickle at my gagging throat, and bleed
The blood and life from terminals in lungs and waist and legs.
My mind alone is sharp, and darts from instant fears up to
An unkeen knowledge of the creeping fact that soon too now
The door I’d left ajar, in sober-lost complacency,
Will slowly eke its custom present path.
The opened hatch will welcome in the all-pervading white,
Which brims the room in quiver lots, and lost is what I’m forced
To breathe, like smoke that racks the ageing mucus of the heart
Through crinkling eyes, which cough inside their stillness and their awe.
It bounces softly with dark lines, and then the weather spurns
The buckling cloud of black, which rages true.
It rapes the purity that whiteness had, in all its twist,
And yet to heap and dive inside itself, and out again
With lofted arms, just like the man who rages in his suit
Composing dire Rachmaninoff, with aches to burn the dark
She quakes the room unraw, and as this swirling swarm doth growl,
Two ladybirds burn giant her dismal eyes.
Their red stare bores into my mouth, as it doth drown submerged,
This creature menaces my frozen form, and breathes the waves
That storm the ocean of my saturated sheets and limbs,
And then there comes the booming of her oscillating drones;
A ripping laughter ripple-rips the notion I’d possessed
Of freedom known, and Christ; she banshees on.
When it seems I cannot hold my breath a second more,
And have to breathe inside the body of this grimly ghoul,
My second eyes are stark once more, and everything is still.
The storm has vanished with the ghost, and breath comes like a rush.
Echoes of my screaming bound the walls, and within them
The spectre is still sniggering a smile.
Blocking ears, I simply breathe and lay back down my frame
Upon the sheets as dry as my bare throat, and then I move
My body and my limbs – I clasp them so I know I live.
I curse with breaking vowels a wetness gathered ‘pon my face.
The oceans just traversed; a dryness that foresees and fills
The fear to breathe again with windy dusk.
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