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Poetry by William Coldicott

To S.H.

Under moist earth—this climate—
we cannot dissipate
to Mycenean helmet, Gilgamesh Sumerian;
others, unlike, but on the turf, would lend
the digger his luxuries; we wired gangs
preserve the rock, up-end the tree
prescribe the fuse our dignified exchanges,
bequeath puzzles, where precedent
shaped monument, dispose
as grandiose the marvel, magnify
the pimple on a primadonna, feast
on slivers of utilitarian casket –
in this climate, where peat-bogs reek
of digging.

The soil, hands work
the soil. The page, fingers work
the page – more fragile restless
things than calloused
giants which do not feel the prick
of thorns or the cut
of paper.

Will you dig a flowerpot with your pen –
or peep out from behind the lacy
curtain with your battle-lines drawn, and holler
on your paper field instructions
to your merry men? Pathologies of ridden fields,
sworn patrimonies of wired ley-lines
span compasses of soil and street, and pulp,
for end’s sake – in ending, magnify
the same, these gangs, who risk the grave
by fusing all, who risk the page by carving
headstones for a Gilgamesh:
we can but dissipate
under moist earth—this climate—
I leave my fathers buried in their fields
I leave my mothers raking
up the dead.

Copyright © William Coldicott 2004

This poetry may not be archived or distributed further without the author’s express permission. Please read the license.

This electronic version of Soil is published by The Richmond Review by arrangement with the author. For rights information, contact The Richmond Review in the first instance


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