ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Francis Blessington


Perhaps today they’ll visit with me
upon the ledge of this desolated quarry,
scrying into the offing at the breakwater chunk,

that washes out in sea suds,
whitens like a carcass.
Will they stoop for that hoax,
or think herring and be dragged
near my shore in the chill mist?

But only gulls rally here,
cawing their useless guffaws.
I need the fabled or the far, 
the lull of halcyon nests, Die Lorelei,
an armada of cloud, Cyclopean squid,
infrequent storm petrels who
never dwell on terra firma.


The Quietness of Hay

Nothing is happening again.
The same fields slashed down
in the time-blest order.
Bumpers are prayed for.

The over-worked rocks, re-squared,
ease again the tractor-bailer
into the next plot, blocks
and hobbles flung into the woods.

Stacks risen like megaliths
are carried off like yurts.
The field flattens to autumn,
ground zero after the storm,

human hands coordinating,
experience and necessity foraging.


The Triumph of Mars
            —a painting by Antoine Caron (c. 1570) 

Riding a chariot of spoil,
gilded Mars rests
his sword blade
on his right knee
and gazes satisfied
at the background fires,
the city and towers smoking
down in the heavy breeze.
Mistress Fury stirs his progress
with her sword, flaming
and almost Edenic.
The pair of horses,
Destruction and Devastation,
prance on: The first 
looks questioningly at the other:
Are the Catholics all buried?
All the Protestants burned?
Famina answers gnawing
out bone marrow,                                                                                  
Blasphemy bellows the air.


Francis Blessington tells us:

My latest book of poems, Poems from Underground, was published by Deerbrook Editions in 2017. I have published two other books of poems. Wolf Howl and Lantskip as well as Paradise Lost: Ideal and Tragic Epic,Paradise Lost and the Classical Epic, verse translations of Euripides’ The Bacchae, Trojan Women, Helen, andHecuba and Aristophanes’ The Frogs, also a novel, The Last Witch of Dogtown.

My poems have appeared in Appalachia, Arion, Cumberland Poetry Review, The Dalhousie Review, Denver Quarterly, The Florida Review, Harvard Magazine, Light, Literary Imagination, New Letters, Offcourse, The Sewanee Review, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Yankee, and in many other journals.


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