“Jinny always dances in the hall on the ugly”. Virginia Woolf, The Waves
I abhor everything that Jinny stands for,
her casual sex and promiscuous lore,
but I must admit she animates the book
with her billowing frocks and opening doors
and from her I learnt despite my scorn
to dance on the ugly, and dance for long.
In curfew darkness, I scribbled odes
by the haggard light of a famished globe,
a candle’s orb.
The rattle that Wilfred Owen deplored
in an anthem meant to disparage wars
now live assaults my metaphors,
who, unscathed, tap-dance a rhythm of their own.
And deaths that queued before my abode,
that abducted whoever I adored,
bequeathed an inheritance of fortitude,
of resurrection from every plight and woe,
a new-born soul.