Thursday, January 11, 2007

the withy king and the stone king

The withy king sits
in a house of plaited rushes.
His heart is a hollow reed.
The house has no windows
only slivers of light between the withies.
The door opens onto a secret pool
where he talks to the abyss.
The wind whispers
through the gaps in the walls.
His voice is the cracking
of a lightning-struck willow
with a rotten heart.

The stone king sits
in a pale house of stone.
His porphyry heart
is silent. He does not bleed.
There are no windows
and no doors in this sepulchre -
he only looks inward,
his own fear echoing
in the closed space.
His voice is the grinding
of stones on a dry riverbed.

There are two solicitors' firms in Bath, Withy King and Stone King, and I have often thought there was a mythical quality to the names. Then this morning it came to me exactly who the names embodied. I'm sure you can guess.

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