PROLEGOMENA (for Jane Harrison)

To Dionysus

Master of the anti-ceremony,
music festival shaman waving
your thyrsos over the wasted
tribe who, forever, gyrate.

That smashed Maenad is your
groupie, will do anything you want
her to. License is your liberty. So
you thrive on their intoxication,
whose abandonment is not toxic,
but their life’s high-watt voltmeter.
Amplifiers are your apostles, hirsute
devotees fill your humid marquees.

Lord of the incendiary dance-floor,
cult-guru of the Student Union.
Your bull-like torso perspires,
dendritic biceps poster-adorn
the Hall of Residence bedroom.
Sweat is raiment, special unction.

Late gate-crasher to the Olympian
party. A show-stealer stamping
your extrovert heel to the rhythm-
section perfected in the imperfect
ensembles of the chthonic. Anti-
social behaviour warrants
litter your wake.

Cross-dresser, twice-born charismatic;
starting to feel your body move & flex.

To Orpheus

You possessed the introspection
of a serious singer-songwriter;
dedicated to Apollo’s craft, so you
cultivated your mystic. Intense

performer in bohemian coffee-
houses, socially anxious & prone
to melancholia, you were a legend
before you were even twenty-one,

brought refinement to the rough
& rowdy ways of festival bands.
Keen student of poetry when your
instrument was stationary in the

corner of your bed-sit. Somehow
out of synch with the fashionistas
& guitar-fetishists, you ploughed
your pianissimo, forged a musico-

spiritual vessel to sing life through.
Tee-total & vegetarian, you poured
your ascetic libations to less blood-
thirsty divinities. Assiduously you

kept a cleaner altar, for you’d made
peace & harmony with the animals.
Ultimately, you paid for such a key-
change; & your head, torn off your

body by incensed Maenads after
an impromptu recital, intoned
its navigation in Styx’s burbling
auditorium: to recumbent shades,

& the tone-deaf ears
of Eurydice.

To Eros

God of logopoeia & love,
alchemise us. You lord
of discord & misrule,
penetrate darkness with light.

Slavish master self-serviced
by your majestic pinions,
you’re the silver-haired ephebe
born of the world-egg. You who
are life’s full force, very much
life’s ecstasy, there’s no way
to extinguish voltage that’s yours.

You come not with revels,
nor with silent-spun music. No,
you’re beyond all that; & we
ignore you at our own peril.

Conquistador of the palpitating
heart, coloniser of our fraught
emotion; come divide & conquer
our mental dominion.

You coax us from mother’s
womb & motivate our actions
throughout the itinerary
of our creation here.
You quicken & incite us,
give us desires then withdraw them.

You hover over us until
soul knows manumission,
before entering the captivity
of its ultimate haven-harbour.

Exquisite miscreant, distant intimate:
do not forsake your charge.





Mark Wilson


Mark Wilson has published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio (Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (Leaky Boot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). He is also the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two. His poems and articles have appeared in: The Black Herald, The Shop, 3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, Dodging the Rain, The Ekphrastic Review and Le Zaporogue.

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