In The Hops - Poem by Simon Gwynn
A clock ticks out reluctant time,
dividing the impassive air,
pervading some fresh impulse that could show me where
here is now, or anywhere.
Released from time's symmetric tedium,
my past slips through and through
this momentary weave of life.
Sometimes its quick needle snarls in strife
or clings to what I've lacked;
sometimes it beckons, a glittering line,
a tantalising pulse
that no use could hope to dull.
Over and over,
the green hops rain down
from our swiftly hollowing sacks:
a suspended elation - now
this flood of soft pungency
that seems to issue
from some source behind my back,
with a conjuror's frivolous fecundity.
The kiln doors chunked tight,
I bend to light
the yellow sulphur in the pan.
Flames of quicksilver blue
leap to lick the twilight back.
I, attentive to the warm kiln wall,
await the clustering rustle of the buds,
conspiratory in their simmering seams.
And after, reveries of tea,
chairs tipped back to the ridged barn door
swelled outward in a century's sun
that now descends, alights the green-dark earth.
And thinking of my chair now turning
on Earth's impalpable sphere,
my cradling hand tilts down -
my tea is spilt - brown-
grey gobbets roll in dust.
Who is he all things of nature
in his ignorance contrives to better?
By vain technique, deceit and artifice,
and by his hand alone exiled
at last his own face cannot recognise
reflected in this lucid pool
that comes and goes beside
this dust-red workshed of uncouth tools,
a jetsam armoury of obsolete rules.
The melting afternoon
suffuses through my yielding mind,
the farm starkly sunlit, the travellers
industrious in the far hopyards.
On top the refuse tip there sits
a child's toy globe rejected -
brash triumphant sphere
of irritant, persistent plastic,
its colours quarrelsome and graceless.
I look away, remind myself
here is a home, a place from which
one should not be distracted.
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