Medb Charleton


A Treatise On Alchemy

There is a simple solution for life’s inanities
which takes a clear-cut moment of day or evening
and breaks it down into a liquid substance,
not unlike a dark and barely-moving sea.

When a man drinks a cup of coffee by a table on a chair,
maybe a little round table from Argentina and a cushioned chair,
and he waits into himself before returning the cup to its saucer,
he has in this way been and almost gone.

And if a little crystallized element is added,
it will ignite before time comes back,
revealing the solemn trace, the sprinting strain,
the solid truth, shadowed glow, flourish, instant.



Winter’s fur, ermine
between city trees,
skulks in around five o’clock.

Sleep flicks its tail through me.
The bed heats like a sunny window ledge,
your absence there
a glass jar
emptied of dried fruit,
oh, this is warm.

People pass on the street below
shouting nonsense
in falsetto.

Presses open and close,
the plaice is turned,
roots gleaned,
and you smile at me
from the pohutukawa we climbed
out over the sea at Waiheke.



Medb Charleton is from Sligo, Ireland. She completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in 2007 and her poems have appeared in Turbine ‘07 and The Lumiere Reader. These poems were inspired by moving down under to the edge of the world.