Box Hill, 22nd June
Calcicolous, on the circum
-wealden cusp, we watch
these distant jets, seeming issue
of that ancient zone, of industry,
swim through their own mirages.
Beneath this brink scarp
a map is spored
from memories of greensand:
defunct beech boundaries,
tangled root espaliers, staving
the humid undersong of decay.
Sumped air, resinous, and
ellipsis of an old hammer pond,
Today, though, we turn
back, to the lee spur, where,
by the perpendicular
they cling to
to no intention;
so we submit
to the patient
they, with their mute,
of alien green compose
on the zither of grasses;
drift, with the
panicked by wind, which coast
this alternate island
in the aromatic atoll,
of their locales;
the summer’s place
where vestigial organs
without species, wake,
to find their bodies
in a different time.
Leaf Sonnets (i): Rowan
These thousand street-side rowans, their leaves,
Intricate islands, and the berries,
Are the city’s entrance, to mountains:
Bunchberry, and the alpine cranberry,
In the lichen-lined clefts, of the rock,
The fragile magic, of diapensia, before rain:
Somewhere the serrations
Of the high cinquefoil
Mesh, like gears of memory, to these
Ratchet leaves: more than a family likeness,
This, the slow, pawl-guided working, the tock,
In life’s constant chronometer
Of loss: in the calendar of feelings,
The swifts, already parted, circle, and fly off.
(For the 130th Anniversary of William
Morris’s Polemic against Victoria’s Jubilee)
Foot-foundered, at evening,
We watch the scattered cowslips
In the “Coronation Meadow”.
It is not where they grow.
In a different meadow.
There, we know,
Work’s wedded to the world’s
Pattern, ornament of its arriving:
Cowslip, oxeye, the ribwort
In their sylvan adjacencies
Cutting our gains
On undiscovered commons
[Oliver Southall lives and writes in London, though he sometimes walks out of it. New work will appear in The Germ soon.]
Copyright © 2016 by Oliver Southall, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.