PunchMag

Midnight, Christmas Eve

Midnight, Christmas Eve
Midnight, Christmas Eve

So simple, on a night like this, to lose
all fear and lean too far out on the bridge 
in admiration of the stars that throw 
themselves into black water

and disappear. From the river’s edge 
a song begins, flung up from the cathedral, 
lifted through its ribs of stone
past its candled arches and its domes

to icy sky, a sound that feels
as pure, unreal as snow falling upward. 
The portal is thrown open with the force
of something that wants to be alive.

Song like this could spark a fire 
from hopeless wood, or give birth 
out of stricken earth to forests 
of branch and leaf and bud.

Across the city, a girl’s hair swings 
against her cheek, her hands feel 
kicking feet, a heartbeat. 
The great vault with all its singing 

swoops down to look, to where she looks,
a cathedral turned to cradle, the cradle
a gently ribbed cathedral, deep as the sky, 
starlit, ready to be filled.


Screen-saver

I carry your face in a mobile shrine  
and take it out on the Underground.

Your digital eyes look into mine.
I change at Farringdon and I have changed.

Touched by you, my skin is kozo tissue, 
my hair rose-perfumed ink,

my eyelids are gold leaf.
The woman on my right,

reflected in the window opposite,
takes on the stillness of an icon,

the boy across the way 
lifts his cheek to be pure marble

sculpted in living light. Together,
we travel on into the night,

all of us grown precious, 
each one of us alive and rare.

(Excerpted from Over The Moon by Imtiaz Dharker, with permission from Bloodaxe Books)

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