Poem of the week: Yeomen
A new work by Maurice Riordan
Maurice Riordan. Photograph: Derek Adams
Either Pharaoh or Moses has been with me all year,
January to January, haunting the landing.
At night when I pad down the stairs for a drink,
one of them steps to the side. No sound or touch,
just a slight drop in temperature as I go past.
At the fridge, I hear bullocks wheezing on the slabs.
Stepping out to piss, an owl screeches in flight
and I spot the Dioscuri in the branches of the elm.
Brothers christened for a laugh, or in ignorance?
One twin – Moses or Pharaoh – died on the Marne
and is remembered on a stone in the churchyard.
The other stands guard outside my bedroom at night.
Maurice Riordan’s books of poems include The Holy Land and The Water Stealer (both Faber & Faber). He was nominated for the TS Eliot Prize and won the Michael Hartnett Award