Stride Magazine - www.stridemagazine.co.uk

 

These poems are part of an ongoing yoga sequence. Sarah is interested in stretching both body and language.

 

Tree

Sapling pale. Rooted in shallow soil,
this tree of triangular suspense. Foot raised
aloft and lodged on unassuming thigh.
Arms stretched and fingers caught together, pointing,
at the moon, a bird in flight, the life to come.
Breath coming easily, swelling my chest.
Thoughts loosening there and drifting up, leaving
my body in organic stasis. To steady me,
my mind reaches out, rubs the cold mirror
and the paper on the wall. I slip back into the
wood, the hollow trunk of my lone position.
Beneath my left breast, the soft erotic coo
of doves. A cavity, tautly held, girdling my hips,
in shade, for the owls of your hands to nest.





Wedge

Skin jammed in to rigorous angle. Promising
to hold the door of opportunity at a draughty slant,
my arms are pushing you, floor, at one remove.
A wedge station. All the slivered blocks are waiting
for a siren call, to skate in aid of wanting women,
cats who canít patrol their territory without knocks,
and the apparition of sudden shadows on panes.
Itís the heave of the isosceles shape between what
could have been our double bed, ever ready to spring
from an entombed flatpack. Itís the shape of traditional
cheese, laid out to catch mice (hold the door) and
the wrists get a cut of the flak, pointing to tender toes,
exploring the stub of the air, maintaining the slice
of sinews reluctant to make that throw of the dice.





Charioteer

As the sun wheeling, the cloud-streaks whipping,
the charioteer is on a diet of elements, peppering
a throat sore with the bones of flying fish. He
has a sack under his upright arm, containing post
for the world, the appendices to her games of cool
green marbles. His torso is leather-clad, and the gulls
are glad to see him stir up a current or two.He gets
surprisingly chilly (must be the load of polished stones
pecking his thigh). And through all this he grabs his own
big toe, as if delighted at the rudder of his being, light
and steering without fear. His new food, blessed with
splendid dressing, charges his day. How easy, he thinks,
clinking the ludic chains, it is to drive, like skating, splicing
the empty sky. No shaking legs to put him off.





Staff Posture

Your mindís a rigid right-angle. Relax,
resting straight-wise in the wind as if a silk
tieís pulling round your feet from each
soft handgrip. The impetus within to sit
in stretch alert, lively to the voice in your hair,
the wind in your ears, and curling in your throat
you are the drawbridge on your bodyís moat.
My corsetry is firming into shape. Sides
and schoolgirl curvatures slipped into lean
against my slump of inclination. Loss
of this facility is the western wrap,
the harlequin measure of soft hard activity,
and in the waiting places where I miss you,
adopting the staff, the branch in the corner: Relax.





Skier

This you swoop into. Surcharging an inevitable
gush of gravity in falling incline. Itís pleasant
to feel the helplessness of a smooth allowance, almost
like ice cream in its cool and sugar-mouthing air.
And suddenly, at the back of the throat, this impulse
to keep in the swing of things. Crunch of ice - not
your teeth closing the wheel: the offer of sparks.
Starting -slalom posture, with the prospect of white
and vista of nothing-to-do but guide your odd tread.
For rudder, a pair of imaginary sticks. Duo,
pal, like a legless camp guide, and this,
(is it Swiss?) a special sort of break. Any sorrow
cuts to diamonds here in slick subsumation. Donít think
of your herringbone climb: Iím double-gloved.





A gem for women

Because you can never seem to get those eight hours
rushing like a dirty wave into the foam which holds
your mind almost together on the subatomic level
I am telling you now, do the pose. Its chest-opening
offers a valve for the wound you harbour, pout
all you like against the curve of fate, gives pump
to the nature of the stamp you face, the tax
of give and give away, and the tenuous strain
sieving half the impediments away in loose blood.
A vague etymology for your favourite circuits, pony
blond tail quipping in the dust: of small swimming children
in the might-have-been, the weathering meals,
cowering stomps of cessation. Train the mind to expect
less weal, less woe. Like an oyster park.





Eagle

One of those postures that I enjoy
and others find impossible. A balancing
twist, an exploration of a bird
of prey. Folded wings, not cowed, with
bobbing head thatís slid into a hunch,
waiting - for the dying cry, the mouse.
One-footed, body spiralled around
itself, in a hunterís half-embrace, half-
camouflage of swooping wings and claws.
The posture makes a raid on natureís laws.
And you just might never get it: that elegant
inversion of a wheel, a taught conundrum of
centripetal flight, a deep suspicion of blue air,
clawstruck hands woven in a rope of prayer.





Warrior

Sprung in a knife-like rhythm from his brow,
Krishnaís greasy fighting lock. You touch
the resonant land and gel into a throw, proud
as a cartoon tiger, and ingenious
as puzzle plants. Itís your thighs that take the flak,
extended over the battle, forming a play-
ground of musculo-skeletal devices. Clamber
here and swing the ladder at your peril. War
or rather the strength of an unbelievable stance
which remains. And the tensile strength,
and the stamina, and the positive turn from
the very sockets of my hip: all declaring
I can, I can do it, I do, no combing me
from a leggy, unassailable, and passionate advance.





Dolphin

Rocking and rocking again. Keep
your head crown down, anchored
between elbows and basket-woven grip.
The unbearable posture, made to ape
an upturned king, your bound legs trailing
behind like some kind of incarnate banner,
mermaidís tale of humanness. Rocking
to shut the blind world out, its peristaltic noises
fizzing in pressurised ears. The rush of the give
as shoulders flatten, become fin-sleek
and the name, the ironic, Byronic, duplex
effort of looking at life, too true, no fig
to dive or care for. It could be your birthday.
Fruit of the ocean. Hieroglyph.


†††††††††††††††††† © Sarah Law 2002