Body Language – a poem by Stephen Kingsnorth

Body Language
Reflecting on Painting: The Woman taken in Adultery

Why does he lower face,
join the woman in down-cast eyes,
when the other men point with their
calculating, tricky, digit stares?

They unbent, he questions, bends again.

Why does he lower frame,
join the woman’s down-cast norm,
when the other men stand so firm,
bold, strong, cloaked forms?

Is it to give them time to think,
enable them not to lose face,
enable them to lower theirs,
melt, slide, slink away,
before he, with her, stands again?

They are gone,
but he, straightened, there,
with scribbled, scratched and scrawled sand
about his feet, around the ground.

How interesting that the censor’s pen
excised the story, printer’s trim.

Calculating, tricky, digit stares of
bold, strong, cloaked norms
cannot stand sand scribbling.
Crouching woman, better bowed, cowed –
the body language speaks too loud.


Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by over a dozen on-line poetry sites, including Amethyst Review; and Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader, Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines & Vita Brevis Anthology.

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