[ poetry - july 06 ]
DU is [Ö] primarily an alpha particle emitter with radioactive half-life of 4.5 billion years. - Gert G Harigel
Raw clag. Rain-skirr.
The digger and the crab-claw
of the logging-truck have left this unfinished -
the slope agape,
its flank the orange
of wounded pine -
the looped glade a monstrant O
things dissevered and dissected
booty of a strange, almost religious, bout.
Round the edge of this battlefield,
as if breakage could be local,
blades of winter grass, groundsel, maresí tails.
You climb a seeping slope,
smelling pine sharp as a wound.
Hyssop, amaranth: dark sharp odours
pool spit under the tongue,
of what clings and lingers
like the woody taste of steroids in sweat.
And woods return.
As if everything can be mended,
the knitted fuzz of needles
replace whatís broken into sky,
shadows drawn up in each direction
with the future perfect of loss,
each triangular branch
outlining its own disappearance.
The sparse light steals these effects
as it makes them -
like the light you block, the small penumbra you shed,
footfalls of dimness
in the dim aisle.
in dust-stains and - oddly - paint,
the electrician finishes his cigarette, tapping it
into the sink at the window
where every tone of glas
in trees and fields opens a dry-point perspective;
coming to the work, his giantís fingers
manage a threading, slipping, marking
youíll never emulate.
Your hands slip, burr on the tools.
Dust clogs a bladeís bite,
that intimate spiral
down through the twisting grain of baton,
the joist that thuds the drill back
against your palms
a house-pelt of wood dust is dead nature
to soften and dress
stone, and plaster the lathes slip through
sibilant and flexible
as a memory of living wood
or the returning shadow,
when the sun moves west,
that thickens under chairs, shelf, feet.
The north Lakes
are scratched with leavings of snow,
silled with black strata.
Migrant redstarts fur the white.
A slope unbends millennia,
as the train passes, to disclose
plough-lines, wall-lines, a farm
four-square against the plunge of contour:
the sort of place where you imagine
daily as prayer,
thick-walled rooms dark with dust
and long family habitation -
the Farmersí Weekly Almanac on the wall -
holding March light pooled on lino,
in the glaze of a mug,
as if the death
already in a man
didnít fill-up every kiss.
Between each heaved breath the sleeping body
Strata on mineral strata,
story connects whatís half-seen,
fictionís make-shift; the truth
trapped behind your teeth
you might see milky Spring sun,
violet haze above a copse,
as signs that youíre in place;
like soil huffing against the spade -
story sifting down,
its fine grit
connecting this, to that, to you.
At dusk, though, the airbase Apaches
thunder over the hedges.
No need to ask whom they toll for
while you remember
the weight of a sick body
on your body;
the too-ready sweat.
As afternoon blurs
beyond the doorframe,
you bring things together,
out of the wound of difference.
When did stones stop growing? asks Yasuhiro.
ground what flickers in you;
as in your childhood science-class,
their adamantine patterns
are taking root, ceaselessly,