Lisa Kelly

2 Poems

Saturn Devouring His Son
painted at Quinta del Sordo (Deaf Man’s Villa)

On Saturn, it is raining diamonds.
Soot falls and Goya picks up his palette.
He has a choice of four blacks: bone black,
lamp black, ivory black and red black.
A prophecy declares war on Justice.
The very thing Saturn is warned will happen – one of his sons will overthrow him –
spurs him to snatch his son, dig his fingers deep

into the boy’s torso and bite off his head.
Soot is falling on Saturn and as it descends
Goya considers the reds at his disposal,
just two: vermilion and burnt sienna,
but there is no subtlety in blood – when blood is spilled, it is noticed, however tiny the drop –
when red is applied to a dark canvas,

it commands the gaze as a graze
on a child’s knee commands the gaze.
This is Goya’s black period. The painting
is on the wall. Lightning storms are turning
methane into soot. Soot falls on Saturn – Saturn, god of time, attempts to reverse fate –
a god gobbles his future and summons Justice.

Goya sizes up the painting on the wall.
What black will he use for the pupils?
Eyes lit with frenzy. Perhaps lamp black.
As soot falls on Saturn, it could be described
as carbon black which hardens as Saturn’s will – he fetishises fate, eats the meat of his flesh –
he butchers his boy in a state of bone black

arousal. Graphic violence as soot falls
on Saturn and hardens into graphite,
falls further, plummeting new depths
to crystallise into diamond hailstones,
showering riches on Saturn, and Goya – who paints with oils on his dining room wall –
dips his brush in red black for the cavity

of Saturn’s mouth. As the uncut diamonds
rain down earth-span after earth-span
into Saturn’s hot core, where the heat
is hellish and the pressure for change
inescapable, they melt in a sea of carbon – and Goya paints Saturn on his knee in ivory black.



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