Poems of Primality
We are all crumbs
We are all crumbs,
fallen from the Master’s table,
such Mastery as made this rock
and water made
and wind, sun, dust, detritus, silt.
These were gifts
and we, we covert motions
creviced and murked and damp,
we swellings in the mud, we
glomerates, we gave back buds
and flowers, mosses, love.
Yea, love we showed him,
brandished love to Him preoccupied
with universal things,
knelt, bowed, on our provincial planet
One of us
within our sedimentary nests
claimed him not Master but
Abba, Father, claimed and proclaimed
and so proclaiming died and rose
sealing at the wood crux
(where dimensions touch, eternity and time)
a pact of blood and water
between the fluke of Him and us.
We are his crumbs, we diamonds are
from his terranean carbon ranges,
tiny and rare, tears for his cheek.
And of his million million fires
we ring the smoke about the iris of our eyes
His love to recognise.
Who are these, fur-capped
Who are these we come across fur-capped
At the roadside, staved, suspicious, wrapped
Against an adversary we are not acquainted with exactly –
Wary of lowlanders, never first to speak,
Yet responding to our greeting and (in the basic mode)
Sharing our lingo?
If not in line of time our ancestors,
Surely it is these that took our past
Up by the sunless tributary gullies,
Difficult to pass and single file for goats,
To what were once pastures in most parched
High summertime, and settled there above
The treeline, not for a season, but
To live and die.
The younger men trespass down,
With a few hides and artefacts of bone.
For a single day, or a day and a night’s unrest
Lodged at the town’s edge, their zest
Gone absent, narrow-eyed, observing little,
Watchful for exploitation, trickery and the derision
Of our children.
Then they are away again for another year, on foot,
Squatting at the roadside to regroup their hearts,
Rising hesitantly as our vehicle decelerates ...
Swart, monkey-faced, smelling of old smoke,
Uncertain if to smile or be on guard
Upon the currency (for ornament), salt, tobacco,
Peppers and white sugar in the warm
Darkness of their clothing.
On our return they are gone, we suppose
Moved off between high grasses on a trail we never noticed
Half a day’s tramp to where the mountains start
And their legends of precipitous routes by tree-cramped
Torrent. Then the bared steeps where their turf huts
Crouch windowless against the cold
That slays their frail each winter, an adversary
We are not acquainted with
Were these not they of the simple life
Whom we townsmen, sophisticates, boulevardiers,
Affect to envy?
On gazing upon cars nose-to-tail in Snowdonia
Coming by iron he moved the frontiers of his pride.
First building furnaces in bellowed clefts,
He made the rock weep copper. From continents apart, brothers brought tin, and fangled bronze
To glint his awed submissive soul and question
Supremacy of forest, star and beast.
Coming by iron, he moved the frontiers of his pride.
God became smith, fabricating sanctity,
And soon the clad wheel trundled his vulcan powers
Across all surfaces of land, until this day
Where steel snake-shackles his latter globe
And fangs back starving soul from dark
Deep-circled mysteries of forest, beast and star.
If that day he did not die
Yet slept only,
A sleep so clean
And total deep
It took breath and beat,
To awake in vault
Tenebrous and cold
And by his own shoulder
Rolled back the boulder
Rousing the watch-by-night
to funk and flight ...
If from sepulchral portal
Stepped he in dawning garden –
Heart! do not harden
Against the glory
of a Saviour for a story
Took and told as gospel.
How, how shall Truth be tellable
Else but by parable
Or ever Word made Knowledge
But is dislodged
A fraction into fiction?