Mere slips of girls behind masks are hardly what I am after.

I am a diver after bushy clefts, fruits that swell and dangle

From generous trunks, bases round and soft, feminine

Versions of pachyderm deities, just as keen to be aroused

As they are keen to excite, invite, into their matted recesses. 


But am I that keen on entering this regal, sleeping vagina

To delve beneath stalactite curtains, edging past mineral labia?

What became of the wild boars, swallowed up by an unforgiving

Mountain who’d endured a love surrounded by darkness,

Pregnant and alone, somewhere in the depths of Tham Luang? 


With her loyal stable hand the princess lost all sense of time.

We smelt the kids before we saw or heard them, said a diver in the team.

Her father had the boy killed. She stabbed herself in the heart

With her hair pin. Dead leaves from above get trapped in newly

Sprouted ones. The bush so threatens modern man it has to be


Shaved, infantilised, not for the hill tribe villages to utilise as thatch. 

Light trickles in from the entrance to her cave. A myriad cicadas

Intensify my own alarm. And the heir to the throne, the bright, strong

Princess in a coma? Calm. Remain calm. We must conserve our oxygen.

Parasitic ferns append their antlers to the trees. I have lost all sense


Of open space, for here time is trapped in a cauldron of stone.

Deep inside, the walls go moist and warm. Tham Luang Nang Non,

“The headwaters of the Sleeping Lady,” happens to be the inner lake

Created from her tears, this wide-hipped princess of a mountain

Pregnant with the ghosts of the ones who have succumbed,


Drowned in her blood which has become what so fluently now

Flows through her, rising in monsoons, quick to deepen, dangerous,

As their junior football team discovered. Pleased with her mist,

Proud to be forested. Far inside, the damp secretive route

They took has many recesses, dead ends, limited passages 


And tunnels winding under limestone strata. Free to grow unkempt

The wilderness will reassert itself, a fresh havoc will reign

Where there is now some orderly tea plantation. Offerings of fruit,

Incense and candles may be left. But this is a haunted, not a holy cleft.

Genuflect to her image, yes. Do not remove your sandals.Xx


About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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