Helen Boden 71

Helen Boden

The Play’s The Thing

Szemünk pillás függönye fent: / Hol a szinpad: kint-e vagy bent,  / Urak, asszonyságok?
The curtain of our eyelids is raised: Where is the stage, outside or within, Ladies and gentlemen?
(Bartok, Bluebeard’s Castle, Prologue)

Only when the orchestra beats
on the same frequency as our hearts
do we remember how to forget

across pits lit like the night-decks of ships
- takes a whole day to turn them around 
Volta, Da capo -

how behind some slant prosceniums
the wrong sides of the balustrades
draft soliloquies were touched up

by actors, forming themselves out of 
inklings first, then words designed
to avoid their own inferno, tartarus.

Play of light on the back-cloth
can never emulsion over their 
self-hate, their overgrown nails.

Helen Boden is a Yorkshire-born, Edinburgh-based writer, educator and editor, with poems in magazines and anthologies including New Writing Scotland, Umbrellas of Edinburgh, Dangerous Women Project, Northwords Now, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Antiphon, Mslexia, Lighthouse and Butcher’s Dog. She also collaborates with visual artists to make place-specific text and responsive poems that have appeared in pamphlets and artists’ books. helenbodenliteraryarts.wordpress.com @bodHelen