Perhaps he is thinking to outpace himself
on the treadmill when, as if only now in alignment,
mirror strikes mirror and an opening
threatening negation occurs.
Where he looks perhaps he sees the body as plosive
and expansive, in that way infinite and contained,
the inners going out forever, touching everything
which is itself. Perhaps there are thrown thoughts
like raised hackles that keep on climbing, as seen
in time-lapse: demarcations of from till to.
He thinks others must throw around kettle bells
of brains, must throw pendula of judgments (brain
swinging outwards onto the seen thing) to consider him
in motion by the pendula of hips and shoulders, spine
rigging the many trapezes of the body they must consider
admirable, pitiable, of them and not of them, in the way,
and in that way infinite and contained, ad nauseam
impinging upon everything which is themselves forever.
for the common snipe
The display is percussive. From a wide-climbing circle
his plummets make narrow, moon-coloured
slipstreams. Inside them, his tail-feathers
winnow to court her.
The lower world hears what it knows: a horse
at gallop, a hand-whittled flute, a goat
put out of joint.
Or above the burble of trees, a drum playing down
through the movement of clouds.
The walking world sees what is mostly there.
Grasses shine general through the wreath of grass.
The eggs take cover
in the old circles of plain sight.
Uterine green. Drab and dappled black.
Taken altogether, we could say clutch.
Clutch for what is mother-warmed: the plush-
maroon and brown-white down
of hatchlings. Clutch for what the world
might close around
were the wreath of straw apparent.
A Clutch of Eggs
The size of the clutch can tell a species’ lifespan:
so winter gazes into the brains of birds,
annihilating the neurons responsible for song,
and sheer air forces out flight.
In the blue and rust-corrosion eggshells
swells a smaller winter of repetition
while under the crystal look the wings of insects
go crisp in the killing locus.
There’d been a little doubt, that the moth’s specked wings
had not evolved to hide on bark: smokestacks
sooted them down to the DNA. Down
is the motion, the motive of the dispelling look,
which sunders atmosphere, air, water, earth,
till earth diamonds under the pressures and goes on
not in time but in space unending,
a fractal unfurling its calculus.
It’s so cold one might give up picking the snow
from where it grows uniquely for the microscope,
compactably for the weight of the look
that goes lumbering over the nest,
birthing or breaking where forces meet.
these purple shadows
half-brothers to falling snow
its crystal substance rich inside the end of winter
when we learn to sleepwalk some place else
to be there as opposed to here
at the time in question
answering for once in all honesty
our dreams deep-pinked with the wisdom fish
our reason jammed with natal rivers
might we not
never get used to it
these house and hemlock shadows
those almost brothers slowly crossing snow?
As it is taken, as it is passed, it brings
about a lingering—–
the robin’s egg bowl
the antiquated coin
the signet ring
—–whatever it is in the centre of clasping,
and, static in the ongoing moment
of palms shifting under and away and towards
nevertheless drifts away from somewhere
and as it does so lets loose a rending noise
that gets stranger and louder
until it has travelled so far in stasis
none understand it
and those who can hear it are liars.
Where mid-century rabbits
are bunched in a hub of tall gold oats by the ingoing rings
of a reaper-and-binder, I open my father’s memory
of his childhood in Wales. There they are focused
roughly invisible. Or here, in a cleaner than life
death-cheating hurtle, do their bodies clear
the closing circle.
the dead who had buried the dead being buried
the bodies which were filled with an unusual substance
going empty and being used at last to fill the ground
which had in advance been partially emptied
having been constituted and reconstituted and never
finalised but always the familiar dung dry blood
dry flesh and greatly thought upon as not much
itself at all but mostly a space where a door had
been opening during some time or other in fact a door
the mind had been leaning on as if with a shoulder
and the more it thought the more shouldering the more
the door budged downwards into the dark
and it being a place to dwell in and being a place
whatsoever at that a place the thoughts preened for
and prepared their glittering head-dresses and bangles
and lushed their fur in uneager smiling expectation
Fair Quiet’s Latch
A door the mind had been leaning on
gave way: to bees and hose water
to the rows of garlic and companion lettuce
and the lowness of strawberry
freely wandering stone.
Rough bark rose into soft leaves.
Gliding was the work not of thought
but of feeling
the gorgeous prelude to going down.
What we said
had yet to be finalised.
The evening was being put off also.
The sun not fully below the horizon
was blood to winded flowers.
Her looking almost every way an act of nerves—–
she quivers in a windmouth.
Expert in brinks, or is it indecision? The door
both behind her and ahead.
So many children laugh daily through that white
arch, stopping to knead her brow,
shrugged in such a human way, and growing more
knuckly with each passing.
Ahead is difficult to understand. It wasn’t always.
Dense stripes of musculature, hardhoof stones,
and the children growing towards the entrance
to a smoky place she cannot turn and look at.
Ahead which is behind, which is a used-up place
full of pelt-shakes, full of the remarkable
looking-at-self-in-waters—–head; reflection; mind.
Zests of dung, sweat, clamouring leaves with rainwater,
crowd her with their lostness like stars.
Rainwater is the life.
So is chewing grass and rolling in gravel.
Pyewacket’s byword is simplify. Ruth would be her Bible book.
For naps she likes a certain chair. Otherwise
it is a cushion the color of persimmons. From there
she can take in the room through slitting eyes and purr.
Pyewacket’s meditations are what she does.
Daffodils are blooming in the house of Mars
with roots so hot they make the gutters patter.
I know because
she sometimes lets me see. I can be there
if I am there peripherally. When she descends
the escarpment is taking on snow.
I have no coat and wave my arms excitedly.
When she descends, she is half soapstone
and half snow rabbit.
She purrs for me like a hornet’s nest.
Her eyes cool to lemon quartz.
The Witchfinder General has decreed that each form
must be true, tested then tried, of certain mettle,
or of meal or for the worm or for the weather,
put in service of the arbitrary, put in vice,
put in steely certainty or fetter, of moderate fettle,
else put to the sword.
four nights in the pits of sleeplessness which were my eyes
sandy that rended flesh from flesh
that scrubbed the vision from the eyeball’s tip
like a lens scalpelled off the vision from the tip
and to me the lord of the unmistakeable property appeared
and an invisible mirror
that blasphemously sees
the polecat terrified of the ends of magnets
the greyhound slinking under the stormcloud
the black Rabbet chewing as if trying to mutter gluey words
the Spaniel fattened to the point of leglessness
and the white kittling altogether uncatly
Ah, the seditious Peck in the Crown, a pitchforked thought
appears slowly as the process of torture progresses
to Hopkins and nine other witnesses, much as the imbroglio
grey of the lake, under the inklings of rain, appears
to the Italian artist. As if the guilty red of sunset
made the sun burn perpetually, made the martyr burn.
And Greedigut, the last emanatory imp
whose standing is an act of eating
of mashing and of swallowing
meaning all things are acceptable
to consume meaning all things alike
may appear on schedule and be reckoned.
Painted the broth
as it was: oily gold, beefy brown. Painted nothing animate
that wasn’t. Whited over every iris. Whited over offspring
at side. Blacked out memory of grass. Laid blue morass
over gaseous marsh. Cleaned brushes and knives
as sun was gingers and radishes sinking.
Tomorrow, the red gets no less lavish. Morning tides
of slaughter, then the big boiling
of cow bones in water.