If I know anything
I know this
That the end of the world will be
And will come from somewhere
And that straightaway
for as long as there is
People will say
they saw it coming
As if the moon, finally
spiralled into the earth
Terror swims inside me like a basking shark
It’s my sullen wake, it fills the air behind
As I’m drawn along suburban stone.
I see the wild forgotten as a dream is forgotten
I know I dreamed, but what was it?
I stand on a hill and see the city
Draining down its valley plughole
Soft scars left in the grading air.
I see this city move as a scrapheap moves
Slowly downwards, churning the earth.
Waiting for a bus I wait too long
And my figure, mistaken for a statue
By some routine artist in a tatty book
Is selected for the top of the heap
Which moves, and the wild falls further.
In a shifting forest, in the past beyond thought
A foraging girl picks out an acorn
From a dry skin of leaves, her breath
Marks the air. She leaves it
And the earth hurtles out from beneath.
Oh your voice,
It carries the geology of the tongue
In a startling language
Your saliva and its stones, caught by geographical time
The knot and bark of your swallow
Sussurations of your lips, of fur
Brushing past itself, salted in the night-forest
And your eyes muddy marsh
Sodden in the hills and routes of our conversation
Between moon-dragging planets.
Female, you shake me
Your strata bared by the sandblasting wind
The grass bent, rent and shattered by a foot
That mountain collapses and tectonic plates tear
You gulp in the nothing of my ear.
The Tree says “Down! – thee
seeds and sapling usurpers
“I am the root and I the purpose
“Know my bark, it keeps me strong.”
And murders them with shadows long.
The saplings and the seeds chant –
“Up! – up the republic of growth
“Of varied ideas, and new things here below
“Until the wood is filled with variety
“Old bark can stay – but we’ll have our society.”
The forest is filled with kinds of desire
But all must drink – and bathe in the sun
The far spread shadows are death to some
“Until the dark dawn of some great forest fire”
Some hope to spark, to get underway
The falling, the ashes, it tends to gestate
Grand ideas of a sunlit glade
Though dappled light seems the best some can await –
Born as they are with stunted branch
Or lack of structured niche or dance
They tend to fall back on the law of the light –
that when shadow is cast, those in shadow must fight.
Either starving dark amongst the shoots
Or taking as model the climbing vine
Or cutting the old bark down to size
Or grouping and starving the heartless old roots
To scatter light out from the leaves of the few.