Camille Ralphs

Abel as Cain


Black light: restless and backless, roiling night.
Too legion raging tempests’ testy sound
Bounds, over boundless hours, coils of ground;
Too soon the noonday demon’s teeming, bright.

Wait, plough-of-all, and page and power’s call.
Come Mayday, let my heydayed house and pen
Then rest in comfort, spared despair, once – thèn
Come, self, dumbself, torpor corporeal,

If come it must. Nonplussed, dashed on the sod
One self lies; one, red-handed, trustless man
Wanders the bloody-sandalled Land of Nod.

Which one am I? No one’s but every one,
For love and God and for the love of God,
The starry ooze, and grace, erased seem: gone.


Camille Ralphs has two published pamphlets, Malkin: An ellegy in 14 spels (The Emma Press, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, and uplifts & chains (If A leaf Falls Press, 2020), with another forthcoming. She writes the ‘Averse Miscellany’ column for Poetry London and conducts the ‘Poem’s Apprentice’ interview series for Poetry Birmingham. She is Poetry Editor at the The TLS.


This poem appears in our June/July 2022 issue of The London Magazine. Purchase your copy here


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