Anthony Weir

Rookie (13th September 1941)

Hortus Maleficiarum - Poem by Anthony Weir

Irish fields are bleak
even in summer when the grass is high for silage.
They are prisoners,
beaten up, interned behind barbed wire,
inside us, our fenced land, our property
- and we cannot shut it out.
Nor brick nor stone nor wool nor wine
nor fire nor electricity can keep it out
of the trampled, overcropped, exhausted
field of consciousness

where club and cleft stick,
man and woman
are seasoned by the sourness of centuries
thickening to peat above them and below
spring after ritual spring.
Gort - one of the Irish words for 'field' -
comes from the same root as Latin hortus
and English garth, yard and garden.
The Persian paradise
had prison-walls.

A garden is a shrine to tidiness,
a place for dolls,
fragile and cruel as its creators,
each one a habitat destroyed,
a wanton blasphemy of wilderness.
And wolves and bears have vanished
as the wilderness has vanished.

A garden's just a piece of tidy property
whence beauty, truth and toleration have been banished
into books. And books are dead trees
and marketing and choked drains,
and poems are dead cells dropping
like sleet from wintry brains.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 7, 2006



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