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Sheenagh Pugh
b. 1950

"The Movement
of Bodies"

He fractured white light into seven colours,
reckoned the distance to the moon,

wrote laws for the movement
of bodies: no mystery to him

until now. Planets in their orbit,
the sea's tides, his eyes

locked to the lit face
of the young mathematician.

A body at rest remains so
unless some force act on it

So many years, no joy
but in numbers, no troubling

of the flesh. The pink tongue-tip
idly licking a finger

constricts his heart. His edges
flicker, scintillate, like a heat-haze.

A hand brushes his cheek
and it colours: to each action

an equal and opposite reaction.
He tries to think straight:

the moon. I worked out its mass. Moonlight,
kissing in moonlight. The movement

of bodies. The moon draws
the tides. A knife in my eye

Once, probing for truth,
he nearly blinded himself.

This time, he will flinch
from the lacerating light.

Legend will say he died a virgin
and never saw the sea.

© Sheenagh Pugh
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