My poem, “The Cup”

My poem “The Cup” is in the Secrets issue of Negative Capability. Since it’s a print publication with no online samples, I’m reproducing it here.


The Cup

Roy White

I dip it in the stream
and feel as I drink
smooth enamel, soft gold,
the bumps of deep-red gems.
I think of its ancient maker, maybe
a captive like me, taken
and bound to his arcane craft.

In each night’s pigsty
or wasted fen-fastness
I hug it for warmth, I
a wolf-head, fair game for any man,
but not without treasure.

I saw the worm last night,
no moon, just a dragon-
shaped hole in the stars,
and later the angry glow
of distant flames. My own fire
I built without fear.

When I took it from the old hoard,
I thought, “Here is a token
to soothe the Master’s rage, but knew
he’d only snatch it up
and shackle me for a thief.
No, it is my secret now,
as it was the dragon’s.

The Master will not understand
what has angered the worm; well,
fuck him! And fuck you all, noble
loaf-guards with your stupid
mead-halls and your stupid names,
Prosperity Friend and He Who Takes
Advice From Elves.

If I manage to live a while
taking a lamb or chicken now
and then, you’ll start calling me
the Aglaeca; some nights
a frightened child will see a dark
shape drawn to the edge of the clearing
by the red gold of the bonfire.


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