In the circus, Elizabeth performs as the fire breathing Phoenix, writing poetry behind the scenes to bring joy, satire and a voice to the silenced. Her collection, Read Me in the Bath, will be published next month and is expected to be as unflinchingly powerful as her first, Dancing on the Knife Point – both dedicated to the Hellenic Muses of her Pagan religion.
Spectres of Legend
Beneath crimson stains across history’s legends,
The goddesses and the feminine spirits are
Buried, smothered and hidden – steadily,
Their own waters are poisoned,
Cancers breed in their throats; vipers curl in their wombs.
They are forced to refuge to seas that are not their own.
Selkies, skin stolen and homesick;
Growl on the rocks and from sailor’s homes.
Salt in their lungs and their eyes and running down their cheeks
In streams they can never bathe in.
They sought out new waters from Shetland,
Caught in maelstroms of Lerwicken Fire,
Hurled across the Atlantic like kittens among the Vikings.
Every fourth finger on the cursed hand
Bitten through and tossed to the tortured Sea Sami.
From Scandinavia, flee the hollow sisters:
Sjörå and Havsrå, their treaties with men
Drowned with the Havsbarn in surgical nets,
Pressed against the bulbous bodies of Minke giants –
Tangled in quotas and traditions.
One guarded the seas, the other, the lakes;
And while they slept, the besotted and the envious
Tore the wings from their backs,
Carved the flesh from their spines
And rewrote the legends.
© 2019 Elizabeth Train-Brown