where the writers are


À propos of this week's RR blog theme, Rescue...



A long way down and far to go,

dislocation -

disconnection -

disorientation -

disseverance -

As Hopkins knew,

the mind has mountains,

Cliffs of fall, no-man fathomed.

He said nothing of the heart.

He left us high and dry,

facing arrant steeps and deeps

with opiate sleep for comfort,

the little death.

I struck out on the headland,

exulting in free space,

its airy volume carved and cloven

by beating wings, the eye

slaked with flowing tides.

If Moses cured envenomed veins

by sight of a snake of bronze

wound about his staff,

then senses that couldn't

drink the brine would gladden

at the ocean and be quenched,

all tumult drowned

in pulsing sound.

But God put out his foot

and tripped me.

Terra firma caved.

And vaulting pride goes sliding down

with dust and scree into the chasm.

Fighting gravity, flailing for purchase

on any proffered spur,

quilted with grass

and tufts of maidenhair.

I plunge through shrieking air

Can this be happening to me?

I have always known how

to correct a fall, retrieve balance

in the nick of time.

I was a dancer, a natural, they said,

who deserved professional training

which mother in her wisdom forbade,

believing my feet would trip!

If I'd had the training, of course,

this wouldn't have happened,

The wayward destiny she feared

would have been punctuated

with perfect pliés and pirouettes

and feet that knew how to address

undulant ground beneath them.

Pavlova's art depicted dying swans,

but that was on the stage.

These should have been quiescent years,

invulnerable years,

resting on laurels,

smug at deliverance from agony.

I've done my bit to shoulder cosmic pain!

That's for others now:

I've got the tee-shirt.

Instead, I'm plummeting

towards the maelstrom,

whose Nordic undertow may master

the strongest Viking swimmer,

even supposing him bent on rescue -

After all, I'm not a clip-winged angel

fallen out of paradise...

So this is how it ends...


Too late!

Too soon!

O, save me!

O, no!


I never did like tee-shirts.