Tag Archives: Sheenagh Pugh

Sheenagh Pugh’s ‘The Bereavement of the Lion-Keeper’

  
   
The Bereavement of the Lion-Keeper
Sheenagh Pugh
  
for Sheraq Omar
 
Who stayed, long after his pay stopped,
in the zoo with no visitors,
just keepers and captives, moth-eaten,
growing old together.
 
Who begged for meat in the market-place
as times grew hungrier,
and cut it up small to feed him,
since his teeth were gone.
 
Who could stroke his head, who knew
how it felt to plunge fingers
into rough glowing fur, who has heard
the deepest purr in the world.
 
Who curled close to him, wrapped in his warmth,
his pungent scent, as the bombs fell,
who has seen him asleep so often,
but never like this.
 
Who knew that elderly lions
were not immortal, that it was bound
to happen, that he died peacefully,
in the course of nature,
 
but who knows no way to let go
of love, to walk out of sunlight,
to be an old man in a city
without a lion.
 
 
 
from Later Selected Poems (Seren, 2009).
  
Read more about Sheenagh’s Later Selected Poems.
  
Visit Sheenagh’s website.

Sheenagh Pugh’s ‘Golden Boy’

  
Golden  Boy
Sheenagh Pugh
 
          25 November 2005
 
 
A white day
to go: November slipping
away underfoot,
 
rusting
or jaundiced, brittle with frost.
Your face,
 
fine-boned
even now, not drowned in flesh,
but turned to gold,
 
skin beaten out
to the thinnest leaf,
a god’s mask,
 
if gods could die
or come to grief. That sheen,
as if death
 
refined you,
burned off the slag, left only
the right metal,
 
unalloyed,
the flash of talent, the joy
speeding and weaving
 
to its goal,
baffling all challenge, laughing
at its gift.
 
We grow up:
put away childish things, stop
hoping for fame
 
or genius,
same as the rest. But just
now and then,
 
a man rises
above everyday, a man
like us,
 
and we fly
a little way on his uplift.
What if
 
he comes down
in the end to ruin?
It is the brief
 
instant aloft,
the leaving earth, that lives,
as when a boy,
 
falling,
still glowed from having once
touched the sun.
 
 
  
This poem was first published in PN Review.  It appears in Sheenagh Pugh’s current collection, Long-Haul Travellers (Seren, 2008).
  
Order your copy of Long-Haul Travellers here or here.
 
Visit Sheenagh’s website.