Boyhood of Senesino
Tremulous as a pot bound hare -
never before so close to wealth and title -
I poured into pomade scented air
the gift God had graced me.
Pierced the spangled matrons' granite hearts,
drew from grown men a drip
of tears with songs of ache and loss;
then with a seamless switch slipped
into laughing coloratura, skylark notes
that threatened the Murano bowls,
panels of quicksilvered glass. Even my father,
face a map of hardship, swagged a smile,
weight of a heavy purse already in his hand,
eyes glinting like polished knives.
Note: Senesino ( 1686 - 1758 ) was a celebrated Italian castrato
They must have waited days
for the photographer to complete
of mercury vapour and salt,
for the errand boy's knock,
the black ribboned box.
The the shock
of lifting the lid on themselves,
gaunt and grave in dark clothes;
their lace gowned child,
white as a Meissen doll,
with her loose rag curls,
painted rosebud mouth, eyes
like blown bulbs.
Note: memento mori photography was popular in the Victorian era
as a way of remembering the deceased.
Boyhood of Senesino was first published in Londongrip Poetry 2015.
Stephen Bone has been published in various journals in the U.K and U.S. First collection In The Cinema, published Playdead Press 2014. Available from Amazon and www.playdeadpress.com