0046 Jewel Of Blood
A fine morning and the side-streets empty
by Michael Shepherd
then turning the corner,
in the middle of the road
a pigeon - grey-mauve, plump and feather-perfect,
one wing half-spread in flight,
and at that moment the sun shone
on the blood that shone on the dusty road by its head,
a jewel, redder than any red,
that shone like a message
as if it were the blood of the world itself
so rich, so rich...
and I felt guilty
that I saw it so beautiful,
that jewel from the heart of a dead dove
and thought I should suppress the thought...
and, now, that further thought which hovered in its train
that this whole world in such a jewel of blood,
more precious than a ruby, or than gold, or much fine gold,
a jewel beyond price
is what a devotee at communion or at Mass...
while cool reason
(what has reason to do with this?)
well you value your own blood above most things
don't you? Why not a pigeon's?
but all words spent and poets silent and associations dropped
and thoughts at rest,
that pool of blood
in the winter sunlight that shone on the dusty street
was just so beautiful.