When a civilisation falls, we observe these
events from distance; see reflections, find fragments
of lives that leave ghost-shadows. Lives that you or I
can’t comprehend, rocks and dust and skeletons that have
stopped dancing. We fail to see ourselves; we have shored
our own minds against death. We try to push against
the forces of time and space. Where is my
salvation now? What thoughts are left but ruins?
You wanted so much
to see the Himalayas. Your mind depends
on stimulation, upon
the lived experience that only a
trip to the mountains, or a red
desert can fulfil; the constant turning of a wheel.
On seeing the long barrow,
your eyes glazed
with tears, you said I should never have come with
you, that I brought only rain
where sun should be. And here we are; a glass of water
with the many pills on the table beside
the bed where I lie, where you lie. You say that the
sheets seem very clean and white
but you have to go; you need to feed your chickens.
How Did It Go?
The first has a line from The Waste Land as its inspiration and and the second uses all of William Carlos Williams’ Red Wheelbarrow.
There are old men trees and some I call she,
wild women trees, shelter where the hind walks.
Breathe out and breathe in.
Tree-breath is powerful, and tree-beauty,
the powerful beauty of nature, like
mountains and rivers, ice-caps, the
lungs of the world, pumping day and night.
How did it go?
I tried this form several times before I got a poem that I was satisfied with. I picked some favourite lines and realised that, like most phrases, they contained several articles and conjunctions, none of which make good end-of-line words. The result of my first attempts looked arbitrary in a contrived way. I got there in the end and will try this form again, though I will never be persuaded that ending a line with ‘the’ or ‘a’ is poetic.