John Hawke: sonnet: Sea Priestess

  John Hawke

  Sea Priestess

  i.m. Jhonn Balance

They are draining the submerged cathedral,
and the hotel once propped on a glacier
by a sanguine and visionary developer
has settled in perfidious gravel.
Emily is throwing knives to the receding waves,
still amorous and eagle-eyed, lapped by the sea’s
high boots. She is coursed by meagre tragedies:
an anagram circle of scribbled animal graves,

your plummet into astral azure. A fillet of cloud
flares to vermilion in the kindling light,
before the cycle of monstrous excavators resume
a droning cantillation. Under ocean night
the protean feeders on nebulae consume
their writhing quarry in a luminous shroud.


John Hawke received his PhD in English from the University of Sydney, where his thesis was awarded the Dame Leonie Kramer Prize in 1999. From 1997-2006 he taught literary theory within the Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong; he is currently a Senior Lecturer, specializing in poetry, in the Department of English at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The painting is by Aliester Crowley, titled ‘Thelema and Fate’, from the Temple of Thelema, in Cefalù, a province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy, where Aleister Crowley taught magik in ‘La Chambre Des Cauchemars’ his ‘Chamber of Nightmares’.


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