Earth - Apollo 17 (NASA)


Four Poems

by David Myatt


The Returning

All seasons transcend
Since each day differs
Through its cloud and its sun.

In the wood, gold spreads
Slowly
Like the slow death it is
As every soft colour is returned.
Only pasture remains green
Below mist
While brown earth is broken
By plough:

Sufficiency is shelter itself
And the once reluctant farmer nods
As he turns with his bent back
Where sun rests
Between its hill and his home.
It will be gone, soon, this sun
Lost
While stars stare down the sky
Where for fifty years
His house has stood
Stone grey among muddy sheep-torn grass.

There was a horse, then,
To plough the steep slope
Of his hill: a different way
When even the village
Fifteen furlongs west
Was wary of all change.

But shelter is sufficiency itself
He knows
As he walks the short path
To his home.
There will be fire,
A son’s warm wife
To welcome this leathery skin.

He is old, he knows,
Worn like the oak, and his path
Which three years of bloody hands
Tore from Her earth
And which each year She renews.

All rain can be smelt

In the wood, wind spins
Slowly, like Earth.
There is a mist, a mingling
While the fallen man waits among leaves
Like Her kestrel
For death.

Every wind is his breath.

(c.1984)

◊◊◊

A Warm Day One Spring

In the hills
Where heat haze is scattered
By wind
Wisdom sits like the shepherd
Waiting;
No words suffice
While bleached bracken
Scratches beneath blue.

Nearby, heather sprouts
Where silty shales chewed
By frost
Crumble slowly like life:

There is no haste
Where eighty years of wind
Have twisted the small Douglas tree
Like this Peregrine twists
Itself in flight:

Somewhere a death

While on the road below
Two cars scurry
Noiseless like lice:
Soon they will rust
Just as I will be bleached bones
And dust.

Little endures
Like this rock
(c.1984)

◊◊◊

Travelling

A hot day in Summer as I walk
Slowly
But fastly sweating
Down this road
While speeding traffic passes
As speeding traffic does:
The drivers seem unaware or careless
Of my slowness
And grimly swerve to almost
Touch me
Here where a town – ten miles distant – creeps
Over a river to spread across
A narrow greening plain.

There is food in the town,
A path’s beginning to take me upward
And turning through a forest
To the sheep-sided hills
Beyond.

Slowly, my world passes –
I cannot comprehend the rush
And sit in the hot sun on a low wall
Having passing through the breathless body
Of this town.

Even my water is warm
And suspicious faces watch me
As their owners in gardens surround themselves
With sound:
There seems a rushing in the seeping loud
Music, a barrier
To keep my slow moving solitary travelling world
Away –
I smile, but my beard, my worn clothes –
Perhaps my eyes – mark me.

A few hours
And it is good to be alone again
Among the peace of hills
Where my walking slowness seems to frame
Each slowly passing world:

Above – clouds
To herald some future rain.

(1975)

◊◊◊

Remembering

Haunting
As the cry of the owl
Within the frost of night
When I walked to this stream
With no moon:

I saw your face as I waited for dreams,
Tired by my waiting:
You the ghost walking the path
Of my life.

Sun came, slowly, bringing
A little mist around the stream,
A spreading calm to make me stretch
And walk like an old man
Bent by cold and doubt.

Here in the valley no trees exist
To greet in wakeing this Winter’s sun –
There is only frost-bruised heather
And fern,
No song
Of birds, only
The timbre of stream.

Slowly, cold-raw hands
Transform a little warmth
From my dream:
How many more nights shall I need
To remember
Until I cannot forget
Again?

(1987)


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