Then the 17th Century, a time if you wanted
to, where Rawley greys on the battlements
bearded as the hour-glass sand escapes, her waist
thickens and sepia fades in my sonnet's title.
Will invests in New Place, then deliquesces,
Ben is a harsh scholar, the nostes of Holbein's
smiling portrait of Erasmus. In Chelsea
agios is all for nothing – the fouled smoke
of matter, kippered dusks, nightsoil dawns
that still cling to words, the martyred
who ignite, to burn and, still unconsumed
ferment in torments of the unborn sky
colouring the mind to its own circumstance
more than that flesh, which it grimed and soured.