Marcus Aurelius Goes to Glyndebourne/ Title Deeds of Marcus Aurelius



I forget the opera now –
No doubt it was ‘Romantic’ where
Joy and tragic circumstance
Too often seem synonymous –
Can lovers never find a middle way?

Here is the leading man
His head is in his hands
All he desired has tangled into chaos
And so he grasps the final gist
In which we too must empathise –
At the end he is most certainly alone

But then the heroine
The love he has disdained and set aside
Appears from high above
Descending on a starry stair
Her course set slow and stately
She bears a cool clear glass of water
Purely lit and quite transparently
Offering both healing and renewal –
A waterfall that issues to his desert
A slanting globe of rain

Water is not wine of course
Champagne nor any type
Of liquid the Romantic
Bohemian might otherwise prefer –
Though for the greater part
It is the substance by which we’re composed
Sustained and satisfied
Baptised and re-baptised internally –

Water so might summon
All beings to accord
World access to clean water
Was once my Roman ideal
Legions leaving irrigated trails
The flow of ancient springs renewed
As I sit in your genteel English rain
In my plastic pac-a-mac meditating



When you earn the titles
‘Modest good and true’

Do not change them for others
Considered cool-outrageous or in fashion
Don’t customise your spirit for the market

If you should ever mislay them
Return to them at speed

With documents as these
You need not press for fame

You need not fear acclaim nor life nor death


Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer



This entry was posted on in homepage and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.