MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! ! The Hinterland

Poems have a hinterland.

They come from a mind
that’s left behind, a family,
a tribe, a nation,
in the dense equatorial forests of the human heart;
yet in its backpack, precious souvenirs..

has trekked through swamps and uplands,
dangers, adventures, pleasures,
then the scorching arid desert sands,
and there in front one day,
the matter-of-fact sea, lapping
with the lazy always-there…

and leaning down, place nonchalantly
the poem now a paper boat,
into that glittering, faithless blue,
launched to tide and wind;
should you have put it in some green bottle,
you who think it’s precious,
with a name, address, so that they know
how far it’s travelled…?
Somehow, that matters little in this present moment,
as the poem’s past prepares to meet its future self;

Yet, you watch it, silent, ’til it disappears;
how close, to children, is horizon’s curve.

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