Sharon Doyle

In Rhyme Light, Nursery Slant

After a Sam Abell photo of Lewis Carroll's Dreamery Garden

And here is the Garden-Gate flanking the Deanery—
Alice can lattice this easily with her key—
slip inside, to settle up in a
Plane-Tree wove round a Cheshire Cat.

I climb up, too,
seed a smile,
(while children
multiply down below)

and begin to spin new story threads—
laying to disappear or not—
drop my clogs to the Garden floor
to infra-check its path, paced

foot after foot as the daughter-wife-
mother-grandmother-great grandmother-measure
stencils some plains of tulip-roots,
steeples some towers of pale-rose-trees,

and mackerels over them all, pigments
red upon white till the Afternoon
War of the Roses ends up in a tie
Alice can snuggle about her throat

wound in a shadow knot of sun
pinked femme fatale, and so be
left, and also right, to wonder—
clearly Alice's palette of choice.


To Shoe the English Thoroughbred: Miss Taylor in Wonderland

Elizabeth and Alice chat over a picnic lunch
clicking their patent leather heels
teasing the chinks of the moss-flecked wall
dangling their adolescent limbs.

Elizabeth is pecking at her chicken wing that's sizzling,
"Mind you, I don't say that life is just a breeze—why,
there's way too much wind-chill when it
comes down to umbrella stands—
but I find if you take your stand and
your at-bat with violet eyes,
any Nicky, Mike (One, Two), Eddie, Richard
(The First or Second), or John or Larry
will listen to you a long time."
And she tosses her raven curls well
behind her alabaster shoulders.

Alice mumbles chewing on her shy mushrooming oyster,
regards Elizabeth, cocks a single silken golden brow,
"Nonsense, I find that first you must ferret out your main point,
badger the chap you choose, and finally
out-fox him with logic—that is
always most immutable.
They will squirm, but they cannot get
free of syllogism."
She raises her chin, and her nose, and shoulders,
flipping her blond locks over her pinafore.

Down at the end of the wall a pair of
roundabouts rumble—fingers in their ears—
a variegated cat slithers
tall topiaries in rose-red,
and a thoroughly Velvet thoroughbred gaits
out of the starting spring.