Mildred & The Deer

Gingko (dark) overspreads
shining flowers
joy in wild profusion

a long dry port:
Mildred, like St. Audrey
had a little deer
(Blood money for the red murder of her mother’s brothers)

She was allowed
to let it walk zigzag
across the island,
demarcating land for the abbey.

The will of God
directed the mild beast’s hooves
in mysterious ways

paths were cut through the bracken
large long leaves of beech were passed
Wild strawberries trod on
bursting their tiny sweet stomachs

Stars like orrery hung gelid in the sky
when it became night
wet moss tempered
the smell of earth and worms
and the badgers watched from their setts

and when it came dawn
Grieg played that tune
bluebirds sang rhapsodies
as they danced above the dewy grass


The animals gathered
-foxes, squirrels, boar and crickets-
encircled the blessèd deer.

They sang Hallelujah
and God saw that it was good.


This poem originally accompanied the painting at CAPUT exhibition, the Crypt Gallery, London, February 2017. Photo: Daniel MacCarthy.