Man sitting in a garden near to Lukely Brook


I’d be an old man but for medicine,

watching each climbing leaf against

local stone, tracing a time line

defying the weight of silt and shit,

seeking, if not the stars, the light,

the sense of means possessed outside

of time, seasons a sleeper stirring,

rising or burrowing through strata

of a dream, building memories to mulch

new experience and let it grow to strength.

One becomes reconciled to and used

to the way things are imposed by force

of circumstance and greed, the same

vector in almost all caution.

The river, now reduced by theft,

still flows on the bottom of the valley.

Up is still up and down still down.

Gravity works and so too decay.

These directions of Holy Spirit

in whom I do not much believe

nor ever did except as trained

espaliered upon class walls,

a drip feed in my head, measured

and violent, its pain accommodated:

Wrong Way. Go Back. Do not Belong

I think of Gascoyne, close to Parkhurst

This narrow belt of liveable fields

chalk down and lowland forestry

and then the turbulent ocean

and further north ground wildernesses

no one will ever grasp or love.

It is an exile from all continence

where the animal rules or dies.

Here in the south, the sun is kind.

Things change but mostly say the same,

Gascoyne the poet who knew much

and put it to some distinction,

letting his word take root and spread

until it was forgotten, all

forgotten, what had been said mounds

overgrown, taken for surface features,

some such are not recognised ever,

left to fall from encroaching cliffs

in millennia I would not care to count.

There’s too much for us to learn now,

too many of us, the time short.

The world keeps going. Gascoyne is dead.

All that’s irretrievable. But here

the butterflies are numerous.

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