Rachel Coventry – Strawberries in December

Coventry LE P&W 1 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One Nov-Dec 2023

Strawberries in December, poems by Rachel Coventry.

Strawberries in December

I wanted men
forced like rhubarb
in the dark
without work
without sun.

In the old days, when men knew everything,
no one wanted the hubris to be true
more than I did.
At twenty-two, I’d believe anything.

I knew a man who could roll the sun in his hand
I thought him a god;
it was the green eyes.
I grew
even though it was always winter.

He developed a drink problem,
and married another woman
the last time I saw him was in Montpelier
pretending to be OK, nonchalant even.

You can have all the strawberries you can eat
but you can’t eat anything.

Francis Bacon in Galway

Connemara at dusk; its creeping sadness
too much for the Anglo-Irish
but dawn will tap, bring worms to its surface,
exuded, godless, grimacing

I sick sought alone and can’t go back
my father, who art
does not partake, does not sign nor sigh.
and roll myself alive

I can’t bear the morning
and how it takes a long second
for this drab room
to announce itself

a tortured pope, a tortured Christ,
another tortured soldier,
the boys who killed a dog on social media.
What are protons made out of

I have understood the death of God
but now the champagne is gone.
Oh, Francis Bacon if you saw him
you’d understand.

Again, it’s inappropriate
some things are always forbidden.
(I prefer the German verboten)
All of it in a blind blue second
and again,

life does not end
but if this were to lose its promise
Francis, what then?

© Rachel Coventry

Rachel Coventry is a Galway-based poet. Her poems appear in, The Guardian, The Rialto, The North, Stand, and The Moth. Her second collection, “The Detachable Heart” (Salmon Poetry), was published in 2022.  Her book “Heidegger and Poetry in the Digital Age: New Aesthetics and Technologies” (Bloomsbury) is due for publication in 2023.

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