Julia Griffin


Magdalene Distressed

Being a Lady Saint, I’ve lots of hair.
It used to swirl while I was lost in prayer,
Yellow as sunlight, reaching to my seat,
Long, tender tendrils tending everywhere.

At times as modest as a well-draped sheet,
It offered a reliable retreat
In certain situations, or, outspread,
A towel for the longest, dampest feet.

You’ll be rewarded! theologians said,
And I believed them. Now I find instead
I’m sitting on a sofa in midair
With something like a cartwheel round my head.

The painter’s not been stingy, let’s be fair:
It’s solid gold, not painted tupperware.
But O it’s itchy as a weight of wheat—
And under, it’s horrendous halo-hair.

Like Music for Elephants

“Pianist Comforts Blind Elephants in Thailand by Playing Classical Music for Them”
My Modern Met

No man is an island:
Why then should others be?
Just go the extra mile and
It’s strange what you may see.

Once Orpheus and Arion
Held beasts enchantment-bound:
The dolphin and the lion
Came crowding to their sound—

Don’t laugh such tales away, for
This very hour, perchance,
A stranger sits to play for
Blind Thailand elephants.

They’ve not been treated gently.
They’re worn by work and years;
But round they turn intently,
And now their ragged ears

Quiver, their bodies’ vastness
Starts awkwardly to sway:
Each, like a long-sealed fastness,
Quickens to hear him play …

Imagine, there in Thailand,
Such speechless harmony.
No man is an island:
Why, then, should others be?

Julia Griffin lives in the southeast of Georgia, USA, and/or the south-east of England. Read more about her here.