‘As distance were itself a state unknown’




As distance were itself a state unknown
the roads keep to the body of the plain,
progressing day between the poplars’ lines,
the eye-drawn point.
The painted stones’
cool numbers in the spotted hemlock shade—
each one forgotten as the next is reached—
show distance as the hour from the dawn,
the closer hand.
The eye-drawn point,
the place beyond the day’s imprimatur,
the mirror to the basis of the mind.

No-one strays far from home, and all return,
to face the day-warmed gate, the well-loved wall,
and, overhead, the swifts’ night-rounded flight
is soundless, and the summer lightning plays
in silence, and the heat is motionless.
Distance, the smallest undivided thing,
the colour over end and origin.




The Present Perennial