From ‘The Wounded Cavalier’

These poems by BEVIL LUCK are from a dream-sequence set in the country house and garden of a cavalier who has fled the English Civil War. As his wound festers and the war is lost he languishes in the country, waiting for his lost love, all the while slowly becoming aware of other, older presences in the garden about him.

From ‘The Wounded Cavalier


Once in the wreck of a finch’s dream

I spied a single treasure,

plucked it from dust, one black

and garish-red bejewelled wing,

hurried it home, hid in my purse

to wait you for your pleasure—

but ah what sudden stream

of loveforbidding breeze snatched back

your fairing, lady, to the foul

nests of a warring universe?                                     

Long years since passed, I rise each dawn

and search the house: the gift is gone.


What hovers in the dust?

The light

like lint

a tint

with no slight


—no saint

this white—

too bright

to see or paint,

too fine a glint

to paint, or trust.


There’s a grotto in the garden

hides a secret stair

with steps descending into shadow

made of shell and bone,

when soldiers came with torches

that tore the invisible air

I hid within my grotto

and whispered to my god.

The soldiers left the garden

but something else remained:

at the angle of the first turn

that shadow has a presence—

I’ll go no further down.


Take hands, and kiss

oh kiss and kiss

under the apple tree

when the skirl of the viol

and the covey-coo

call the young to their wooing:

“for love, for love”.

Take hands, take hands

to kiss, and kiss

under the damson plum;

a theorbo’s thrum

in the damson bough

calls love to come

with wine in tow

for the young are at their wooing

and stars blush in the air.

Take hands, to kiss,

for love and youth

will flee with the knock in the night:

though the wooddove shouts

in the trees above

for love, for love,

the soldiers are deaf to its cries.