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The Constant Stranger

The Constant Stranger
by John W. Sexton

My face is the lake in which I drowned.
The moon’s reflection is the clasp of my cloak.

When there is no moon visible my cloak is held
by the dark of the moon; my hair is the river run inwards.

The silted floor of the lake is the chatter
fallen from my head; my lashes are reeds on the shore.

My lips may never open but my eyes are never closed.
The dead can never hurt from lack of a kiss.

Stone is the stillest and calmest of sentinels. The mountains
hold my face in their gentle grasp.

* * *

John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent being The Offspring of the Moon, which was published by Salmon Poetry in 2013. He created and wrote the science-fiction comedy-drama, The Ivory Tower, for RTÉ radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes from 1999 to 2002. Two novels based on the characters from this series have been published by the O’Brien Press: The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed, which have been translated into both Italian and Serbian. Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons Of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. His poems are widely published and some have appeared in Apex, Dreams & Nightmares, The Edinburgh Review, The Irish Times, The Pedestal Magazine, Rose Red Review, Silver Blade, Star*Line and Strange Horizons.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a fantasy poem?

The most essential ingredient for the incredible is the credible. For the unbelievable to be believed it must to some large extent appear believable in essence. The best way to achieve this often is to introduce the shadow of metaphor. Metaphor gives purpose to the Fantastic, and purpose more easily persuades the doubting mind than any other element.