Poetry | The Goldfinches of Rome by Peter Anderson

0
258
  1. Carduelis carduelis (Fringilla carduelis. Linn. 1758)

Dawn on the Palatine:
planets bow out, stars pick their way
through rat-traps and incident tape.
The morning after the party of all time.

The sun loves me like a cat
wanting my sleep. I am trying to sleep
in the lee of a wall in the wilderness
backyard of an emperor.

There is a lyric of ruins. It is a song
sung in that dream of eating your own teeth.
Red brick turns its flank to the sun.
BAX BUNNY tattooed there.

Scudding across tufa and tramlines
glittering like straights
goes just the one scooter.
Ciao, bella.

This letter comes by goldfinch,
the first I ever saw,
blooding its face on the Palatine
at dawn, terrible

as a princeps, pontifex, come
down into gardens of citrus and cypress
in the first heat of the day.
A blood god busy in the cardoons.

  1. Coleridge, Spring 1806

Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair: thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.  Jeremiah IV, 30

Sparklings countless on the Leaves
of olive Trees after Rain;
woods peopled with Primrose Knots;
snow on Almonds oversnowed.

Memoir of Olevano,
yet idle if no inward
Spark lurks there, lurks unkindled.
Such a Spark, O man! A spark!

O Roman in the market
twisting necks, chit-chatting there,
200 finches flutter
from your hands, 200 gold

finches gasping. Both your hands
thrown out in Oratory
complicit. Is this a Poem?
Baffled finches, baffled flame.

Earth supply the fuel, heaven
the dry light air, themselves shall
make the current that will fan
& spread them. & all their force is vain.

P. Q. R. Anderson

[Section 2 of this poem is a reconstitution of Coleridge’s Notebooks]