William is charmed with pale green eyes.
They’re born of black and yellow melanin,
a trail of genes, some down-the-sofa prize
pincered out to mark the Irish in him.
Think oxidised copper, honeydew green,
a mineral’s polish, heavy bottle glass.
Picture a wet roof’s mossy sheen.
Go back to one summer at your swimming baths
where the water wobbles sun and colour
a kind of greenish blue, blueish green
that glows and bubbles when you push under.
You cup this bowl. A dream. Jade porcelain.
But nothing is precise enough. You wonder
at his eyes, their pigments, textures. Dream again.
Listen to Chris Jones reading this poem on location in Sheffield:
This is third of six sonnets to be uploaded as part of The Rose of Temperaments. A ‘variant’ text of the poem, extensively reworked by Alistair Noon, appears here.