What’s Doing Up There
After a disappointing evening at the philosopher’s stone
I go out to clear my mind, and the ground I stand on tells me,
‘In not mastering the mystery of things you’re not alone.
But know the soul’s gold resides in the lungs. You must breathe
So I stamp on the dead leaves, and the air smells of grass growing.
The cold calculation of the night sky stares down. I’m a known.
A voice brings me back to brass-tacks. ‘What star were you born
It’s my rival thinker, the sixties dropout from Nowhere.
‘Ah! Welsh’, I say. ‘All heavenly bodies get an equal share.
What the First Cause puts together cannot be pulled asunder.’
‘I feel sad looking at what I don’t understand. It’s beautiful,
but what is it for?’ My mystic friend reads my thoughts. ‘I’m a chancer
with ideas like everybody else, and suit the facts so I can be cool
about my flickering life’. I recant, ‘By the way, it’s Cancer.’
Every day Paul Valery must see the sea to assure himself life
will go on with, or without, him (Heraclitus’s struggle and strife
is organised by Poseidon to sustain itself with an ebb
and flow til the cosmos ceases).
Tom Moore saw it as a self-renewing egg
fertlised by the pull of the moon that hatches tides that drain and
the white flies in the wind as spume, the yolk basculates in its shell.
Byron laughed. ‘Poetical Tom! But letting your sad metaphor ride
the Mediterranean is too hardboiled. It doesn’t have a tide.’
Shelley won’t have any, full fantom five, haunting the marine bed
near Leghorn. ‘This ocean’s gaining its influence from bodies long
burnt out suns lingering in the light they died in.’ So I measure
the watermark and find it changes when the sun’s low on the shore
in the winter solstice.
The shift of the sandline hardly troubles
the beached boats, or horses galloping along. I trace in the bubbles
left behind on withdrawal, the lip of a solar meniscus.
And hear in the movement of pebbles its miniscule slush slush.