A.B. Miriam Thyme IX: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory

AB Miriam Thyme full


I am a vulture,
Picking over old blood,
Old magic,
Someone else’s death,
To make a new alchemy of dust,
An empire of paper,
And unrealised dreams.

The bones of the lion
Are cold,
I dress its sinews
In a palatable light
Of barbarism.

Feeding to the unbelievers
(Who eat the flesh)
The thought that the lion is alive.


We are eaters of sand,
We silicone men,
And no longer claim the inheritance of stardust.

We are devourers of light,
Feeding off the smothered brightness of our forebears.

Here on the knife-edge,
We contemplate eternity
As light.


At death’s door
Is a hackneyed phrase
But true enough
For some.

For us it is more
Of a keyhole
Delicate as dust
And expressive of the female.

It is not to be fallen into
Like mud
Or love
Or pregnancy

Or even opened like a door.
It is to be turned
Like a wheel
Or a sword

The movement
Is mechanical
And unromantic,

Thin as a Latin dictum
Between the pages of a book,
Or the hair that drifts up
When we drown.


Hot air rises.
Passion reaches a pitch.

Cold air falls.
(Or so one can surmise)

This cold is the substructure:
“What lies beneath,”
The unmelodramatic fact
That love is rare
And a miracle.

The cold is what keeps
The high, the hot
So lofty:
Without opposition
Nothing can thrive.


I think about contractions,
Movements in and out,
Steady as the convulsions of rivers.

I have never had children,
I am a priestess of the dead,
Of the dead forever,

Sterile and virginal
In all my study
Of blood and movement.

My idols made of paint and lacquer,
Pages quivering with


I am a dull
And faded print
Of the Pythia,*

My mouth smudged
With lipstick
And the traces
Of kisses I have never had.

My eyes are blue,
Circular as moon-discs
And straight as wood.

I see through
To further mist,

I ponder the meaning
Of demystification.

Truth is the reality of lies
Layered upon lies
Into realities.

The legitimacy of anything
With a gun,
Or a belief it should have one.

The power of the uselessness of the power of ideas.


So it comes down to this,
I am a vulture
And not an eagle,

But as I eat the flesh
I ingest the spirit.

I have seen
So much
And so little.

I am a prophetess
And not a prophet:

I understand
The patterns of the lives of cats
But cannot tell you if the world will end.

by Sophia Nugent-Siegal ©

*The Pythia was a prophetic priestess of the God Apollo. Seated at the Oracle of Delphi she was consulted by people from throughout the Hellenic world on questions as diverse as the wisdom or war and the personal health of the questioner and his family. Her utterances were turned into poetry before being given to the client and were usually complex and enigmatic.