Its Body Being a Rainbow


By Lucille King-Edwards


I Manuel in sadness

Manuel speaks to me
Of sadness
After la fiesta:
Being lonely
Being near death

Manuel sleeps the sleep of
Despues de la fiesta
And in this sleep
He dreams
Of things unknown to him
In waking life;
He travels the secret
Path of the fireworks maker
No longer earthbound

II Manuel in a dark time

In a dark time
Manuel finds the heavens alight
As a stag of many colours
Traverses the sky
From horizon to horizon
Making a rainbow with the colours
Of its body
Its body being the rainbow
And the stag is called bringer
And the stag is called a thousand words
And the stag is called a bringer of joy
The shining one
As it flies across the heavens
Brighter than the moon,
Much brighter than the sun,
Outshining a super nova;
Without it stars would go black.

Some would name it
This or that
Stag or wisdom
Love or death.
It is like a lily
Or a cloud
Or a sunset

Why do we call it the shining one?
Why does it come in a dark time?

On the Verge

“I am calling you!”
A voice in the air
which tends to magic.
The sleight of hand
art playing with
sunlight on shade,
psyche’s shapes in the garden
echoing in the mind.

And then the call
to another life
a tangent to
the magic voice
now locked in the room of
in a minute …
the thread out of the
labyrinth is severed,
the siren’s inner call
muffled in the fog of necessity.

Resurfacing one flounders
on the shore of the self
eyes flickering over
the nuances in the light
falling at dusk
on a half open amaryllis
causing its creamy skin
to shimmer as if coated with diamonds;
or the picture of a
shiny orange semi
on the rain-slicked black street
clicking the shutter of the brain,
the lens focused on
Dickensian drear of the
blackened stone, once
Royal Victoria College,
now bracketed by scaffolding
in the grey winter afternoon.

Hearing the cries of others,
one enters the skin of routine
while the white hyacinths in their heady lush prime
bend down out of the green flowered pot
filling the air with sweet scent,
and the patch of winter light,
dimly echoing the sun,
touches the back garden,
beside the ancient maple
saying “tell me, tell me.”

Mythos/ a Dance

I am the gatherer,
The lady who sings a comedy.

Join the widening circle
while hand in hand we sweep
our territory for finds: the lichened rock
the kernel in the sand.
Horses in swift elegance
Race the twilight
So effortlessly we too
Are lifted in gallops;
We paw the sky.

Imagine a viola de gamba
On grass. The treat
Would not be as final as
This bumptious dance,
The grating leg and harping thigh,
The throat swollen into
Cracked goiter sound of a
Frog invoking sundown. The
Raucous music draws the string,
The circle tightens. We see
One small hare,
Alert but disappearing
In the dun of brush.

In darkness we embrace and the going down
Is violent yet easy,
The fall of a tree.
The storm warns
Of Armageddon,
But we cling to the air
And each others sweaty arm.

Once danced to a calliope tune
In a lost dream, it haunted
Both audience and maker.
Now the calliope is playing
At dawn and the sun
Plunges us back
(sweet nemesis)
We meet ours willingly.
The sun rises and we go round.
The whirl slowly accentuates
The pause, and we pick up
The step and the steppers.

It is done in a circle.
It ends with an eating.
Gargantuan appetites infest us for
A crunching and grinding
Deliberate meal.



Lying on her back in
the salty water
my mother floats with
her black bathing suit
hugging the ripe fleshy parts of her
as she gazes at the ceiling
of the natatorium.
Turn her over and she would sink
or so she thinks,
making it so.


A body floating on its back:
the waves begin to build a little
and slap gently against the mouth,
while pieces of flotsam and jetsam
bump against the thigh,
the left arm,
a particularly sharp object
striking the foot,
the heel begins to ache.
An iridescent globe of green
seen floating from the corner of the eye.

Underneath are the sea monsters.
They roil like giant springs
through the seaweed and
down to scratch their bellies
on sponges
or up to catch a glimpse
of the body floating
Would it taste good
or is the body
imagining the monsters?
They dissolve away
down to the caverns,
just inky blots,
while nearer the rocks
the octopus
throwing out a tentacle or two,
and still the body floats
like wood,
half in half out,
little feathers of water
lapping the ears.

The ears hear an angry motor,
not too distant,
closing in,
almost sideswiped
and suddenly rising
then plummeting in the trough of
a wake
then up again,
and down
and the seesaw motion
as slowly
the water settles.
All limbs still intact,
the calm slightly shaken,
but sun still shines on the water.
(Don’t look directly at the sun.)

The body can daydream when afloat,
even the bumps
and monsters
only a minor interruption.
The body can
form another body
in the clouds as they swirl
across the sky
hurried by the wind up there,
down here only a slight
flap, flap of the wavelets
and the smell of brine,
the smell that combines
everything that loves salt,
everything that flourishes
in the great preserver.

Turning over the body would have to swim
or do the dead man’s float
for eternity.
On the back it is possible to
imagine floating.
It is possible
to stay


Picture the field,
the red blowing and bending mixed
with grass and lending
color to landscape perhaps sere,
at best yellow,
beside the road as the car fluffs
them in its wind-wake,
the double take at red, on red.

People walking through them.
Painter after painter loved them.
Yet as they move so do they not
survive moving;
remembering the dead ones
transplated from roadside to garden
their heads drooping, pardon
us the greedy ones who wanted to tame
the wild blowing field.

In the southern most part
of England, too,
dark ones hung
heavy heads after a rain.
Was there another poet
planning his rendez-vous,
waiting to cross to Xanadu
where the royal Khan
built pleasure domes
in the heads of men—
pipe dreams?

Gauzy skirted papaver,
delicate as skin,
bring from Eleusis the mystery
of sleep and death,
of dreams opening
red on black,
of phantoms riding
on each breath,
as your dark seeds
ride the rising wind.

Pomegranate/Available Light;
Persephone in al-Andalus

Persephone plunged down in the dark.
Hades offered her the pomegranate.
Enthralled she ate.
Demeter wept, her daughter rose.
Three made
A thousand seeds wrapped in red
Awaiting rebirth.

The echo:
Granada, a city
In fair al-Andalus
Born of the flight
Of Moors in a bright
Time of ripe
Polity &

Magritte Light

The light in
               behind the
The woman in her bra
               bending over
               the sofa
The husband
bending over his books

Magritte light invades the alley.

The dog barks:
                      an old woman rocks
                      a smile creasing her chin

Sitting in the window seat
     “Am I blue”
     “Diamonds in the soles…”

The Gap

A space between what was being said
and how I felt about it.
The men were
glued to the space between
a Nike t-shirt and a pair of jeans,
The intellectual surface
frayed by
impotent desire,

is love eye to eye?
or does it stray?

Dionysus, shape-changer
is madness.
There is no vessel which can hold
when it moves in life, as it still does,
any claim to the contrary.
No talk,
No willing to light
This power born in darkness.

Incarnate he is in bits and pieces.
When the spirit moves
watch out for what it brings together.
There is a warning in the flight:
Ascension is disappearance from the flesh.
I am left with what is in the mind’s eye,
a memory of touch, a rounded shoulder blade,
a lower lip, a penis,
some small fuzz of pubic hair.

Shall I sing it again?
It doesn’t end there.

A lullabye

between sleeping and waking
both ways its sinking
in out the breath goes
between those
a hush as the wave settles
a pause before the wind rattles
the window in storm
or just before dawn
and the first bird song
before one commits to love
or death
near the end of the Tai Chi set
the lotus kick
as the hand slaps the foot
a trough
a low lookout point
in the gloaming before dark
stark as a farewell before it is said
the listening at night for the next
sound from the crib
Is it peace, is it rest
this lull time resists?

First Light

Being awake in the morning
At almost dawn
There is no reason not to
Get up.
The message is transparent.
The voice from the inner world
The voice from the outer world
Are one.

It does not overwhelm
One can think it over
While lying in bed,
Watching the outline of leaves appear
Against the sky, watching
The dawn in its vague arrival
Causing hope to flicker.

Claritas has no mind.
It does not strike down
Or raise up.

How is this morning …
It is always best be alone,
The ersatz anchorite,
When momentarily the drapes flutter
And the breeze rises.

Lucille King Edwards was born in Oregon but thinks of herself as a Mennonite Quebeçoise having lived here longer than anywhere else. She has had poetry published in England and in Canada and has been involved in the literary scene for over 30 years through The Word Bookstore of which she and her husband Adrian are the co-proprietors. For 12 years, starting in the early 1970s, The Word hosted poetry readings by Montreal poets. She also taught English Literature at both McGill and Concordia Universities and has done book reviews for Books in Canada, Montreal Review of Books, and the C.G. Jung Society of Montreal Newsletter. She has three grown sons.

Its Body Being the Rainbow © Lucille King-Edwards 2006