They tell us not to need a home


Down the hill I walk to silence,
To where the Mother
And the Father lie,
To where they lie in ruin.

Sometimes a stream runs quietly by,
Running light through wet black woods,
Beside barbed wire that guards,
That holds and bars the dull green farms,
The fields that yield the lurid meat,
Pallid oats and poisoned wheat,
The fattened profits of deceit.

Yet sometimes, in my fancy,
I see sparks, as if the Father woke
To prod a glowing log.
I follow them,
I laugh,
I dance,
I dance beneath a melting moon,
But then I’m back upon the hill,
The silence of the afternoon,
The empty trees, the dust
Of ruined soil,
The vapid monuments to oil.

Although they tell us not to need a home,
To live instead inside ourselves,
I crave a cottage by the sea,
Paint peeling from a door of green,
Alexanders in the spring.
Then fennel growing through the stones,
Sea-sand blown on quarried floors,
Wood twisted, bleached and bored by worms,
That pokes like bones through drifts of kale.
Here too some dismal asters grow,
And fronds and thongs of pungent weed,
Tossed by westering waves and wind,
Which blows the seed in holes and cracks
To burst, astonished, into gaudy bloom.
All these will make our marvellous living room.

For there, in every echoed cave, the Mother lies,
There the Father swims, in every shining wave,
There you and I can build a fire,
And cook a pot of roots and herbs.
We’ll give a mug to all who come,
We’ll sit together with the sea,
The turquoise band that splits the sky and earth,
Not thinking what things might be worth,
But sipping slowly on our broth,
Braced in wind, our faces wet with rain.

Then the sun again, that chases ragged clouds.
The Mother and the Father dream once more,
And so with them
We spend our days and nights.
With books and paints we play,
We play to crabs, and crowds of shining rocks,
We sing to saints of earth and sky.
No one here will pay a tithe
To see the slippery conger writhe
Below the pier,
Or see the murmurous starlings wheel as one
Against the orange sun.

Come away, come away.
Forsake your days of toil and fear,
Come with me,
Down to the bay,
Down to the sea.