Home » Issues & Poems » Issue Thirteen » Deliquium


Geraldine Monk

I am not a poet who carries a notebook. To go out equipped with writing materials appears to act as a deterrent to the written word. I simply rely on the vagaries of chance to supply me with torn off stubs from newspapers, unwaxed cartons, beer mats, paper bags or any other matter on which I can preserve curious collocations of words or nascent thoughts. This tendency to scribble on scraps is also in evidence at my writing desk where scrawny fragments of paper are scattered like confetti. A neat pile of handsome notebooks sit patient but neglected. So it was no surprise when a miniscule shard of paper fluttered into my lap with the single and distinctive word ‘Deliquium’ on it. I vaguely remembered writing it down on a recent visit to Crete as I thought it a highly attractive sounding word but I had no idea what it meant. I decided it was time to investigate and was even more delighted by each of its definitions. At the time of its rediscovery I had been choosing a programme of poems to read at the University of Kent and the whole concept of this four part poem presented itself to me fully formed. Using each definition of the word to start each section it became an intervolving of memories from Crete with the anticipated visit to Canterbury. With a minimum amount of editing the poem flowed out virtually intact. It was a poem waiting to happen. 


– Four Definitions Between Crete and Canterbury



through absorption of

moisture from the air.


Un-northern will have to do

as nothing compares to your

division of blue so


it hurts this

Libyan sea’s

invasive depth

so far flung from all

accumulated waters I have




horizons tooth-spooked

heavy breathing waves

molest my

exposed back


against the sun

long pork

over salted

scratching melanoma




other plots and



iron oxide forms

a bed for Becket’s


brim o’ lice.




An abrupt loss of

consciousness usually

caused by an insufficient

blood flow to the brain:



Excommunication of the self.


Sunstruck. Heatstroke. Upshot.


His blood

white with brain his

brain no less red with blood

a dying a cathedral a floored

mosaic forever and a lasting

age her arms raised aloft

two birds

balance her Cretan crown

with wit her decorated

breasts sit where

breasts sit being geometric

and loudly unapologetic.


We sit out on our temporary

balcony avoiding a battalion of

testy spikes while trying to cram

down emergency room service

club sandwiches too massive

for our bemused mouths.


How on earth do you

eat a butty these

days as fat as a ram’s

bottom and

who will rid us of

this turbulent

feast a requiem


blue as uncooked

steak in





A languid, maudlin mood.




Rubble of love

shattered across the

vaulted heaven help

us my posing painted

hot-goddess –

oh god she’s not amused –

gisuz a-kiss my stern

lovely miss

worse things happen at

sea surf-riders

drunk with vertigoing

riptides hanging on for

dear irresistible



Show me the days to go home.


There are more seabirds in landlocked

Sheffield than on the coast of Crete.

More waterspouts in Canterbury

honed by our stonemasons

bestowing our nowadays

with lucrative



Souls of gurning gargoyles circle.




Gizuz-a-hug luv for

crying out loud

steeped in stone

shredding half a

head in a right bit of

bad butchery

beneath the







An abrupt absence of sunlight

e.g. caused by an eclipse.


Malfeasance in office.


Occulted vision.


Put out the light and

then put out the


fight against

sudden dips into


where the hell am I


birds cease their



so-called songs.


Getting back to


occulted vision –

intolerance is all the

rage now everyone

owns fury within

three steps to heaven

hexes tossed

in the manner of

confetti flutter of

heart stopover.

Temperature drop.


‘The night has a thousand eyes and the day but one’


Hot yogurt

tart. Stone cold


Walnuts on ice.

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