Aria Ligi is Senior Poetry Editor at October Hill Magazine. Her work has been published in numerous magazines, chapbooks, and anthologies including Light Magazine, October Hill Magazine, The Australian Times and the Vermillion Literary Project. Enjoy the following five poems from Hymn to Equity, a lyrical yet modern collection that re-imagines Wordsworth in new contexts. In her writing, Ligi artfully draws out many interesting, ever-pertinent themes, particularly the oppression of women and destruction of the natural world.
Two of her earlier books, Temple of Love: Poems for Marie Antoinette and Blood, Bone, and Stone are available for purchase on Amazon.
Excerpts from Hymn to Equity
by Aria Ligi
He was gone1
Nor a rambling fool
But set as a boat to the crag
Absent his shadow hung
Whilst time rounded in its diurnal way
It could ner evade nor amend his passing
Which left, us orphans,
Consumed and unspooled.
The darkened form-
Maternal low lullaby2
O’ slight sliver
O’ sallow framed figure
Where memory laughs
Tears and rain casting me out
Cleaving high for her tresses and the healing summer rain.
Fruits of folly wasted lathe3
Once unsurpassed at Esthwaite and then Hawkshead
My recompense assured yet, vanity didst rim
My path in its slippery silvery thread
And led me to a causeway
Prettied by sedge and curious idle elms
Where me head lowered dim from sham-reveries
The gay dancing
The gay dancing rollicksome fringe
Lacing and binding me in its trance-
Till the mirth o’ the moon~ swooning weltering waves
Lulled me back
Railing me in cattails and the soft marsh’d breeze
Drubbing in its cooing eaves
To be- and listen at the moor and caves
Where silence delineates
And I, its scribe, waft and shift
Away from this feeble tribe
Away from the woo of a dissolute life
To the swan song, the unheralded gong
O’ little bay of the pen
Wrap me in this quietude unperturbed
Whilst light washes way this mizzling play
Leaving me chaste and free
To the banks of her,
The one who speaks without words into my open ear.
To Abscond to Calais
First wrangler Second wrangler4
Or to lead the quiet life among the dunes
Immersed in solitude where the mind awakens in sputters
Then emulsifies into that ever-liquefied state
Ecstasy~ the welling being fastens to itself
Once more unfettered rousing to the intermittent chirp
Crickets in the bog
Transients hidden frost bitten
Wanderers adrift in the morning fog.
Reflections on the Blade
A thin blade of ice per chance
To set upon bittersweet Sizar walking this vagabond dance.5
T’was it thru briars leaves o’ Dante, Tasso
O’er a Chatterton phase amongst tombstones.6
Where wraiths and mists danced
Wyle thru brine vagaries of chance
I knelt upon the cool pane
Unencumbered thu me head ached for the crashing strain.
These two told too knobby kneed poles7
Spun as twisting orbs about verdant rime crystalized ferns.
O’ boy, o’ lantern dipped in yr youth trimmed dais
Tilt yr gaze to me in the swift chill’t glass
O’er the banks, O’ snowy planes
Powered fine in threads
Cravats and wigs primped in pomade
Whilst the breeches ride up against bone bridled ankles.
O’ boy of the song
O’ boy of olden days
I see yr eye lilt and flicker in thy shade.
1. The ‘He’ here refers William’s parents. His mother died in 1778 when he was only eight years old, and then his father in 1783, when William was thirteen, which made the Wordsworth children orphans. Dorothy went to live with her grandparents and the boys, John, Christopher, and William, with Ms. Tyson. Themes of loss, grief, and the desire to rebuild a broken community recurred again and again throughout his work as a poet.
2. Williams’ mother died of consumption, known today as Tuberculosis.
3. A reference to his grammar school days (at Hawkshead) and how, as he entered his adolescence, he lost interest in studying and became more invested in nature, pastoral life, and joy for joy’s sake.
4. First Wrangler was a term used to describe Freshmen entering Oxford. It was William’s ambition to be first in his class, a goal he easily realized, although his interest in academia later declined. It was during William’s undergraduate years that he first went to Calais and met Annette Vallon.
5. A Sizar is someone who receives maintenance to attend Oxford as an undergraduate.
6. Chatterton was a poet of Gothic verse whom William adored. When Chatterton died from arsenic poisoning at the age of seventeen, William commemorated him in his poem ‘Resolution and Independence’.
7. Both as a young man and in later life, William loved ice skating. This reference alludes to how, both in life and in skating, he was always dancing on ice.
Cover image: William Wordsworth (1842) by Benjamin Robert Haydon.
Copyright © ‘Hymn to Equity’ Aria Ligi 2020