David Kessel

Ruby Courage
Elegy for Patricia Walters and Tony O'Donnel -
Hackney schizophrenics who died 2007

Long before and after mankind
The wooded hillsides echo
With the call of the wood-pigeon at dusk.

Grey are the streets wherein my heart lies
And blacker the clouds heavy with rain.

(Earth-shank-hunger blocked in my backbone).

The sweet surge of heroin in a cold back room,
The smell of nuclear wind in the morning,
And the aftermath, alone as never before.

Addicted to life, all life, we may withstand.

Huge-hearted Pat Walters in a Hackney street,
Arguing and singing her black gospel,
Martyred by our indifference.

Wry humour of Turkish voices from an alleyway.

A trendy genocidal English gent in a fight with
ECT–racked O’Donnel with his ruby courage.

Being hard to survive,
Tender to live.

And Copernicus, who transposed his lust
Into such a wonder for a few naked years.

The pain of the pavements
And the sleet across a fell.

David Kessel © 2008; revised © 2009