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Poems
Wych Elm
(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Wych Elm

Green is the wych-elm
Torn is the tiding,
Ghosts in the old country
Surely are riding,
Deep lie the shadows
On dull days in waiting,
Trace the old harmonies
Long in creating,
Sharp is the memory,
Dark is the will,
Lost for all seasons
In some rippling rill.

Long did he wander,
He that in I
Took to the meadows,
Gazed at the sky,
Rambled by rivers and
Rolled in the corn,
He that in I was
When we were new-born,
Fled by the wych-elm
Where age and old sin
Awaited his passing
That he would come in.

He that came in as
The I that went by him
Smiled in some greeting
That caught my tongue tying,
Reached for the reins of
His dapple-grey gelding,
Rode through the seasons
That never had ending,
Squandered the meadows
And trampled the corn,
Serving the wych-elm of
Both of us born.

Now I return with
The lines in our faces,
Searching for shadows of
Both of our traces,
Hoping for comfort or
Words of some kindness,
Lost in the echoing
Creed of my blindness,
Shadows of him that I
Tore from within me,
Left by the wych-elm
To steal that he lent me.

Green is the wych-elm
Torn is the tiding,
Ghosts of the old country
Surely are riding,
Out by the meadow
A child that waylays me,
Speaks to me once, and that:
‘You have betrayed me! ’
Turns at the river to
Gaze at the sky,
Rides away slowly,
He that was I.

Nothing is left for
My bitter eye brightly,
Nothing but shades that
Return to me nightly,
Seasons that flickered, that
Galloped and fled me,
Schemes and ambitions that
Always misled me…
But no-one could ever do
More to dismay me
Than he that was I, saying:
‘You have betrayed me! ’

5 April 1978

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Comments (1)

Next time you see that young imp, DLP, Give im a clip round the earhole from me, You've stood on your feet, you've travelled afar, From England to China and Australia, Your ballads are epic, your verse all consuming, Diseased Elms be damned, the Elder's a blooming, Your verse is a gift to us all, DLP, If that doesnt cheer you, theres still HRT.