TROUT   [ 3 ] 

the assassination of Marion Dufrene
dessine apres Meryon



the canvas had been gifted
spread out like a picnic rug
almost dejeuner sur sail
a sail lifting the womenis
breasts lifting as the trees
and the crewmen looked away
towards the sailing dinghy
limp in a nibbling bay

there was a three-cornered
hat conveniently scattered
on the ground
the trees leaned
from a wreath of smoke
drifting towards the scene

it was a moment frozen
a stopped clock
twelve figures
circled around the moment
in the act of supplication
a confusion of giving and receiving

later the sky would be filled
with charging cavalry
and the tumbling clouds
would disgorge riders
who would descend to
find fine buildings
spacious boulevards
and cobblestones

the judgment of Paris

after the instant the numbers
would have peeled off the clock
but for the moment all is tableau

Marion unaware of the declension
from maiden to skulking demon

the food proffered
the adze raised

Marion unaware of the axis
between sustenance and death
passing through his head

sits in state like a hospital patient
in the midst of a visit by goddesses

a curtain hangs on the strange
pillars of judgment on the flimsy
pallisade guarding the bay

near the twisted driftwood
and the contorted trees

Marion sitting frozen under a sky
of stone between life & death
& the distance between them


so there were demons
but no reason to ask why
Marion was no angel
there was that business
in Van Dieman's Land

pickets of ribbonwood
how could they help?
any more than the
garrison could save
Lieutenant Meryon
from the Akaroa clap
and horses in the sky

famous last words

the names murmuring
together merci merci
merci the little waves
mumbling at the shore
the wind shifting the leaves
this way that way this

what is there more
to say at the end but
thank you thank you

James Norcliffe  
   © 1997