This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Jane Lovell Execution, 1554 (artist unknown)
Execution, 1554 (artist unknown)

Before he mixed the ochre:
wing feather of linnet,
leaf of copper beech, trodden clay;

before he painted in that squiggled vein –
a river mapped from distant stars – in ferrous red:
                  blood wound through
cod gill,
filaments of Rhodophyta,
iron oxide,

he considered the wideness of her eyes,   
            the gaze,
the appalling shine;

he imagined the gloat of ravens
lifting off into the wind
                    that fixed upon the gleam,
flew it tight within their beaks,
a scrap of light seized from the day’s edge
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