Sweet children grow into adultery, and all
the aging imperfections. Embroiled, inveigled.
The city blatts with brass-emblasoned
thievery. But if there's providence in the call
of Bluejay, miming the blue arch of sky – if
grinding sinbad violence (so Vico sighed)
is geared to pinwheels Ezekiel spied – then
I'll add my evidence, proof come what may.
My Book of Q was sealed. . . retraced my steps
to Chelsea. Christmas shopping. Entered
a second-hand bookstore on King's Road,
about to close for good. In the basement sleeps
an old dog and a pile of 19th-century prints
– little black-white view s– pale touch-up
colors barely there. Five, six. . . stop!
Enough for those kids! One more. . . since
it's a scene of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.
No. I leave – I come back later – finally
surrender. Add it to the tally.
The wallet's empty, the bags are full.
On the last empty day in London town
I took a different route from the hotel.
Up Moscow Road, past the two Greek delis,
until it crosses St. Petersburg Mews. One
glance to the left: Church of St. Sophia.
A warm limestone fence sprayed with spiky
Byzantine palm-leaf design, bordering dusky
gold-brown hue of the bricks. My Russophilia
here, here finds its reward. In the morning light
I stumble into the paved courtyard, burgeoning
with green spear-fronds (in December). Turning,
I see a faded painted sign, high on the wall. Ancient Light.
Church of St. Sophia, near St. Petersburgh Mews, London