Labouring - Poem by Simon Gwynn
My body wearily sunk,
sustained by a nameless source,
suspended by slow breath
in the bathwater, brown-gleamed.
My toes still cleaved with soil
raise earthworks on enamel sheen,
a day long in strain and toil
evaporates to steam.
To be persuaded to the labourer's way,
surrendering each day
to obdurate intent,
bent low to pick and shovel attitudes.
To 'claim and tame', break up the ground
of a hurrying council plot;
to mark the bickering boundaries
of a committee's kit-form kingdom.
I extend a mercenary dominion;
it will grow like the callous on my hand.
Bared rocks take the brunt of my opinions;
I may not question for whose rights I stand.
But in a moment the summer country
invades my hardbitten eye,
quietly its close distances
again reveal the emptiness inside.
Again I wait; assuming the years it must take
I will beckon the time with conjuring signs:
in the curling apple peel, falling at daybreak,
in the moonstruck snail glint on the spade,
implicit in the dawn's light.
And each day that same bird
that, with its particular abiding purpose,
crosses its customary field.
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