The Dead Poem by Don Paterson

The Dead



Our business is with fruit and leaf and bloom;
though they speak with more than just the season's tongue—
the colours that they blaze from the dark loam
all have something of the jealous tang

of the dead about them. What do we know of their part
in this, those secret brothers of the harrow,
invigorators of the soil—oiling the dirt
so liberally with their essence, their black marrow?

But here's the question. Are the flower and fruit
held out to us in love, or merely thrust
up at us, their masters, like a fist?

Or are they the lords, asleep amongst the roots,
granting to us in their great largesse
this hybrid thing—part brute force, part mute kiss?

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Exasperation 16 March 2020

There are several interpretations, of what we know and what we don't know.

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Richard Ponsonby 16 March 2020

Yep, I liked that one too, a New Age Palldas " Tell me whence comes it That thou measurest the Universe And the limits of the Earth, Thou who bearest a little body Made of a little earth? Count thyself first And know thyself, And then shalt thou Count this infinite Earth. And if thou canst not reckon Thy body's little store of clay, How canst thou know The measures of the immeasurable" Palladas (250's/260's to 331-c.350 CE)

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