They ask me how I bear it,
the quiet, the no one passing on the lane
that leads nowhere, so distant the bustle of life.
Put your ear to the growing ground, the tree,
listen to the songs, water running to the ocean.
Tell me what you hear in concrete’s cruel embrace.
We never see beneath the skin of things,
the struggle to grow and reach the sun,
to spread roots and drink from deep fountains.
We skim, damsel-fly, but with less grace and beauty,
bat-blind but with no radar to guide;
our world turns to a rhythm, sound and vision off.
What lies beneath the root tangle?
Where loam deepens and thickens to rock
and the cracks let in water and let out fire
the heart lies wrapped in silence
shrunk away from the leprous skin
breathing hope into the roots of stitchwort and speedwell.
For the dverse prompt.
Is this the way?
So many waving arms and shouting faces,
so many truths where one would be enough.
I walk the hard path, slip-shod, where eagles fly,
see the painted sky, the running deer,
the tawdry remnants fit only for a magpie’s nest.
Glaucus, where are you?
As the world fills with lapping water ditch-bright
beneath heavy skies sodden Crimean bandage grey
no rocking-waved tides curl back on these fields
no mussel-bound rocks emerge refuges for the shipwrecked
rain drowns the shouting earth mouths.
Is this cloud or the falling sky?
So dark-dense and dripping
I can touch and taste its whimpering.
Wind says this shredded blanket will drench a paysage
but tomorrow or another morrow will come open-mawed
and drain its dregs into the sucking stream.
what is the night
except loss of day and light
when we feel inadequate and afraid?
I look past the trees black as their shadows
into the teeming sea-sky where stars shoal
wonder where the threat hides amid so much beauty
Which way is up?
They tell us to aim high to look at the stars
even when our feet are rooted to the ground
but the sky is for birds and clouds and dreaming things
tree branches catch their wisps and they fall leaves and acorns
and I am content to dig this the earth watch them grow.
The beast in the shadows never really leaves
the world turns but groundwater stagnates
dead limbs will never sprout green in bud
and buried beneath the debris the unfurling shoots
dig their roots entangled and companionable
while my steps surface-skimming leave no trace.
The day seems empty;
in the space between field and cloud
no sunbeams, motes or any kind of wings stir.
Earth withholds its breath, drizzle seeps
from cloud-leak, waiting, ear straining, for the
rumble waves of motion to carry you home.