Leave-Taking - Poem by Martin TURNER
No beginning, this, but an end.
For the calendar the birds gather, harrow or net space,
testing out starting points one after another.
Leaves not yet bitten lustily shine,
burning from the edges.
The birds will leave them green.
Cold preserves the great bloom,
free from the saga of decay and stink of insect glee.
Nothing bloats the guillotine.
My mother was the only person ever
to write me an anonymous letter.
I took it down to the police station the day it arrived.
My civic good faith gave out gradually.
Their ducks' backs weathered the water.
They did nothing.
Two poets had married: an eggshell epic.
A childhood overwhelmed each adult.
Polish voices, babbling, would not listen
to my parliamentary guarantees
of the harmlessness of the police.
Too late: the vigorous giant crumpled
the beanrows of the lonely skete.
Don't fear now
to open your lost thoughts of a child
in repose among strawberries,
knowing at last the very wind itself
will weave the threads of that legendary harp's silence
into the song that has always been your own,
just as the poem can speak to you
in voices that you know,
as if burying a secret were not enough.
Nightly this steady one sets at my hip.
How does she know just when to awaken
and pull me drowning from the wreck again
when the scream won't come out?
An elbow of light across a sill.
Wood light nesting in the pine-tops.
Light above Mill Leat and Morden Brook,
a last oval of sun, still
cradling the day.
But out to the Tamar oxbow
and viaduct at Calstock it all
slips, kindling there
a generous show.
Cotehele, September 05
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