The Flight of Helena
I need above all to hear limbs breaking
Underfoot, and the squelch of tender stems,
And the frail juice of the living wood,
Extracted by foot, fist or falling branch,
Merging with mist in the moonlit air.
To loosen inner chaos, submerge it
In overgrowth, is my desire.
Cleaving through timeless wood,
Going nowhere, everywhere, anywhere.
What matters is the going.
But why blame a seed
For what the land provides?
Even this effusion of rage,
Muffled echo of a violation,
Is in truth but a yielding.
Against this placid canvas
Of glozing fireflies,
Of honeysuckle dreams
And plumping mulberries,
I surround myself with suffering
And lose my own in it;
Blame also loses its way in these woods.
Still I itch for his hostile words
To bury hooked, inscrutable roots
Whilst every degrading posture I presented
Resurfaces in my mind like a corpse in a lake.
And given the chance again, would I hesitate?
O weary night.
O long and tedious night.
At last, my restless bones touch hard earth,
The night’s breath for my blanket;
The hateful hush, the mocking calm.
Metronomic whirr of crickets, moth-flaps,
Beetles’ feet treading cork and moss.
Tonight is breathing and it terrifies me
To think I might never breathe like that.
Then – silent, swift: an owl in the moon
And its silhouetted prey, still moving.
I feel somehow I ought to remember this.
There is more to this night.