Der Busant

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Honorable Mention, July 2009
Judged by George Szirtes

Like a medieval clock, two figures round and round,
cuckoos echo our goodbyes in France. We are giddy
with champagne, playing at quintain, a barge waits

like a giant dragonfly with us as its glistening tail.
Again, back to those smiling angels with their wings
pinned up against church stones. We pass bricked-in

secrets, shaggy soot in chimneys that whisper
confidences. Somewhere close, a witch stirs her kettle
of pointing fingers. This time, I assume the role

of Princess and not the scullery maid. We lie next
to one another, my shift falling to the ground like white
petals. A hawk steals my shimmering gold ring

with every precious word in his mouth—love that moves
the sun and countryside below his wings. Lying next
to you, our bones settling like snow in a barren field

in the North—England or France or some other
fairytale. We are a forest falling into madness, all
the places we have left behind, the places we are lost in.

"Der Busant" I took to be an account of an episode in a relationship. There are lovely lines of imagery there: "a barge waits / like a giant dragonfly with us as its glistening tail" and "our bones settling like snow in a barren field". And there was that "forest falling into madness". I had this as my favourite for a while. If it didn't quite stay that was only because its assemblage of properties felt a little tidy. Not quite enough of the forest falling into madness. That is entirely a matter of taste, of course. I do think this is a very gifted writer, who given something a bit more ragged, would rise to the occasion. I wanted the poem a touch more dishevelled. --George Szirtes