MY OLD GIRL
(after paintings by Micheal
I cannot remember when I first noticed
watching me. I think for years I
only felt her scrutiny.
By the time I began to watch back, her
image was deeply
painted within me. I picture her most
at the head of a steep valley watching
the only approach
at the distant mouth which opens unto
a fair plain
where she seldom goes.
She could be sixteen years old, or eighty:
She stretches to my knowing thus.
in one spot, she grasps a smooth black
Her stare penetrates with a hint of
as though I had stolen a secret or
violated her solitude.
I know, for example, the trouble she
had with her hat;
getting the wool to felt, with
thistles and wild flowers
boiled and squeezed setting the deep
blue. How I cherish
her hands, that show the wear of much
such lovely work.
Perhaps we were destined only to witness
the other, across oceans, across
she hails from past lives of my own,
or perhaps she
waits to steal my soul. Whatever her
she looks so good in the hat she made,
and her flannel
cassock sheens with the same dark
blue, with an intricate
Celtic knot embroidered in silver
thread at the front.
She wears a braided leather bracelet,
and an iron dagger
dangles at her side. The knot of her
my feeble vision to surround me with
boundary of her reserve.
As enemy or lover, I could not
bear her, yet we are so
© Carlton Godbold 1987