Saturday, 25 April 2009

For Alex


Under cloth, my bodyarmslegs folding,
My coat around me snatched and remolding,
Over metalled, petalled, clover-banked weir
Of a dead fort, four thousand old years
Older than me by far, in my reckoning mind.
I move and shiver through the ramps unwind,
And out again, stumbling as the wind yields,
To see soil, dank-sponging, across a field's
Scudding day, it rains on witch elder, the gales.
And on the spatter-spat hills, grey whales,
Drops wild-falling; clay-wet, plough-serried strokes,
Trammelled my feet to naked, nearby oaks.
Roaring storm by my face heavily crowned,
Fronts the wind's affront, and stares around,
At the nearest rage-bent tree of black glass,
My eyes fixing and I move through wet grass,
In great striding with tired foot strokes ploughing.
Huge hands like giants hands joined dwarf-body bowing
Seize the tree and seeking shake to break or
Make a death fall to the grey soaking floor.
But no tree yet made by green convulsive
Has fallen or snapped to my repulsive
Urge to shatter, strain wood, to make for me
A victory, conquestering a tree.
But is this truly wrong to eye and throng
My strength against a bale-blank long
Trunk of thick bark? or to attack the stares
Of a glaring, far-older thing, that cares
Not for me? and still man's supremacy
Makes a war on all that can better we.
We better what? nothing: our devices
And our best game, make-believe, suffices
Not to lift us one notch higher than they,
Green oak and brown oak, black and old grey.
They are as old, older; we think, and thought,
We angrily discover, is where we wrought
Our standing, our standing-trumpet sounding
Folly of reason: it is thought, mounding
Upon instinct, mounding upon instinct,
That makes us fools: we forget, our ranked
Upbringing has many years advantage,
Over this mind that minds only itself and its stink.

(in my defense I was 18 or 19)

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