The Fish

There were stones on the hill, white
in the sun with their feet
drowned in the rich grass - markers

of time passing, of lives
not mine.   I touched them as I watched
the Autumn leaves fall gold and yellow -

curling palms brittling.   I battled there
against winds of the head and heart, over
the hill and down the lane: there was

my home, my home then.   Those other stones
grey and enduring, rugged, naked, pointed
at the sky in wordless sound ringing - I

listened to them, my ear tuned to the
non-human though human hands had
made them.   I imagined

the long low sun, winter breath, silent
fields of snow. With paths left to go,
I think, I stretch the rule from

there to here, then to now, the cold high
seat of a gravestone overlooking the
suburbs, my home, and the cold, steely

presence of the Howe, long empty.   My
seat now, between these things, before
the TV, in the place that comes after.

I cannot synthesise the gap, the difference.
My hands ache, are soft, my feet
carry me fitfully in unmeasuring

distance impossible to quantify.   Wanting
to clarify space, my incipient breath,
the meaning of all the seconds passing

strung onto time holding scenes like
pearls of water reflecting, I amass
wealth of experience, heavy with pain.

My own stones I carry, straining.
Things have run against my skin and
burnt it like fast-travelling rope

I could not hold.   The truth of time and
love, of all the things you can't remember
are in amber lodged in a place you cannot

touch.   Life the immeasurable depth
of darknesses and lights, the stars
just out of reach, and hope - like

blood pumping - strokes your ego as if it
could give you all you want - that
you think you need.   The speed of the thing,

the rush frightening, the freefall soundless
blue air enclosing like a pair of loving
arms as wings

that let fall.   I was there, I heard
the hammering, I saw the blood, smelled
the fear, grief-stricken.   I stood there

as I stand here now, unmoving, wordless.
'Take me now,' I said, but
I was not taken.   I was left

to be here, to endure, to take-in more,
but the salt sea buoys me up
like light, like something flimsy

and I swim among my days turning them
elemental as I am, glittering
fish alive and well, precious as silver,

moving with the moon and pondering
the full landscape laid out before me:
Ultima Thule waiting to be found.
The Golden Fish
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