Thursday, 9 September 2010

Geese and tree poem

Canal geese: pin-eyed,
their bakelite beaks,
their leaf-shaped feet,

the crosshatch shading
of their feathers
under white sunlight.

Nothing bears down on them;
they sit on the yielding
cloth of quite open water.

The goiter bark of the oak,
shouldering the whole sky
like a wooden Atlas.

The enormous, metallic
weight of all its jangling leaves,
the contortion of its limbs.

'Everything that bears bears down'
says the tree, grasping at earth
with a thousand fat fingers

desperate to hold and hold on.
But, all at once, en masse,
the geese leap from the water

and go clattering off,
massaging the open air
with their rhythmic wing-fingers.

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