Lee Harwood (born 6 June 1939 / Surrey)
The table was filled with many objects
The wild tribesmen in the hills,
whose very robes were decorated with designs
of a strangeness & upsetting beauty
that went much further than the richly coloured silks embroidered there could ever suggest; . . .
There were piles of books, yet each one
was of a different size and binding.
The leathers were so finely dyed. The blues
& purples, contrasting with the deceptive simplicity
of the 'natural' tans.
And this prism & arrangement of colours
cannot be set down - the fresh arrangements
& angles possible can only point through a door
to the word 'infinite' made of white puffy clouds
floating high in a blue summer sky;
this has been written there by a small airplane
that is now returning to its green landing field.
The table is very old & made of fine mahogany
polished by generations of servants.
And through the windows the summer blue skies
& white clouds spelling a puffy word.
And on the table the books & examples
of embroidery of the wild hill tribesmen
& many large & small objects - all of which
could not help but rouse a curiosity.
There are at times people in this room
- some go to the table - things are moved -
but the atmosphere here is always that of quiet & catm
- no one could disturb this.
And though the people are the only real threat,
they are all too well trained and aware
to ever introduce the least clumsiness
or disturbing element into the room.
At times it is hard to believe
what is before one's eyes -
there is no answer to this except the room itself,
& maybe the white clouds seen through the window.
No one in the house was sure of the frontiers
& the beautiful atlas gilded and bound with blue silk
was only of antiquarian interest & quite useless
for the new questions. The whole situation
was like a painting within a painting &
that within another & so on & so on -
until everyone had lost sight of their original landmarks.
The heath melted into the sky on the horizon.
And the questions of definition & contrast
only brought on a series of fruitless searches
& examinations that made everyone irritable & exhausted.
Once the surveyors had abandoned their project
the objects once more took over.
It would be false to deny the sigh of relief
there was when this happened & calm returned.
The bus bumped down the avenue
& ahead were the mountains & the woods
that burst into flower as spring settled.
The plan & the heavy revolver were all quite in keeping
with this, despite the apparent superficial
difference & clash of worlds -
there was really only one world.
It wasn't easy - admittedly - & someone
had to stay behind & ...
The word in the sky had slowly dissolved
& was now nowhere to he seen.
But instead the sun was flooding the whole room
& everything took on a golden aura
- this meant we were even aware of the
band of horsemen now riding through the forest
that surrounded the valley.
The many details may appear evasive
but the purpose of the total was obvious
Comments about this poem (The 'Utopia' by Lee Harwood )
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