Aria Ligi is Senior Poetry Editor at October Hill Magazine. Her lyrical yet modern poetry re-imagines the figure and work of William Wordsworth. In her writing, Ligi artfully draws out many interesting, ever-pertinent themes, particularly the oppression of women and destruction of the natural world.
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. 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 Waif of Dover
By Aria Ligi
To the Revolutionaries Counter Revolutionaries
Factionalists splaying and feigning
whilst in their pretense knowing not what they say
I hovel in the midst
At the apex of this conflagration
Penning litigious machinations that the poor will have more
Hierarchy in all its majesty professes proudly
The oft heard lie
Even the very lowest grovel on blanched and broken knees
Whilst cleaving to the slightest protestation
The mildest hint at compunctions
That squeezed within their tin- and oxidized breast.
The pledge for fealty hung in banners and cockades
Worn round minstrels and milkmaids is not a falsity
A Faustian ruse lauded for grandeur solely.
Where true homage will be laid.
I stand at this hour in Orleans
where the maid of woman warriors1
rode as one gainst foreign invasion
And wonder, at my affectation,
At my unbridled distance
Whether from youth or indifference
Wouldst she, the maid stand stalwart with her stave
And gape at their duality
whilst grieving at the lace filled pompous formality.
Would she wonder & weep at the nothing which wouldst be;
For the bowels, and bread ~the bellies yet to be fed.
For Raisley Calvert
He alone knew what he saw.2
That he was prescient
Stouthearted and ambitious cast me in a pall.
Was I so great ~or did he see more than-
Didst his expectations not augur ner cause circumspection
In hindsight, a promontory declaration.
Or didst I take and take
Whilst hoping and dissembling at the gate-
Knowing that time was not his to have.
O’ sad youth
O’ honest indomitable boy
Let me earn that right to be
In the throes
Of inestimable joy.
Her sock drooped on my door3
Limp divot that shod the graveled path
Moss mildewed and stupefied, thru moist wild eyes
Her gaze could leave me crucified!
To cast off finery for pedestrianism
Walking the stone rumpled path
Proud to be~ Unaffected -Defiant -Disinterested
Shewing only a bright luminous dome
Countenance of love
Vapidity molded defined by reason
Lines as colubrine incised upon brow
Embossed between that steely gazed furrow.
There is no finer place to be.
Simple sutures sew the earth
And plumb its depth beyond finality.
Waif of Dover
On the cliffs of Dover was our little cottage4
Albeit homestead refuge from the forest o’ dismay.
Nightly cannon’s wailing through the air a starlight cavalcade.
Little children soot-footed and bloodied fight as wrens
Small pigeons hunkering thru dustbins
Pickled carcasses ~ Feast for the destitute.
Eyes roving outward for prey, praying for manna
Or some such supplicant to be the succor
That will fill and stave this tonal depravity.
T’s a discordant hymnal that infects and affects
This perfect quietude. This supernal veil
hovering o’er the precipice the abutment to our view
The howl of hunger wells me seizes me
Enflames me in this nestled beatitude.
1 Joan of Arc
2 Raisley Calvert was a friend of Wordsworth’s, to whom he bequeathed his legacy. Calvert was dying of consumption, and while they did not know each other for long, the impression Wordsworth made was so profound that Calvert made sure his friend would receive the funds. Wordsworth felt a terrible guilt over this but appreciated that his dying friend wished him to live comfortably as a poet. Many writers at the time lived, and died, in poverty.
3 DW is Dorothy Wordsworth. While Dorothy helped Wordsworth with his writing, she was also very critical both of his work and, at times (during his youth), of his dissolute ways. There are nine poems for Dorothy [in this collection] all entitled DW. Some are written for her, and some are written in her voice. This one is the first, which is focuses on her childhood.
4 It was Dorothy’s dream to live in a cottage and keep house with William. Dove Cottage in Grasmere (Lake District, England) was their first home. The idyllic surroundings in which they lived helped to inspire both writers’ work.
Copyright © ‘Waif of Dover’ Aria Ligi 2020