Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Geoffrey Hill: The Orchards of Syon XXXII


Black, broken-wattled, hedges appear
thinned through, fields an irregular patchwork,
the snow businesslike. I can record
these elements, this bleak satiety,
accustomed ratios of shine to shadow
reversed; inflected if not reversed.
Closer to nightfall the surface light is low-toned.
This is England; ah, love, youmust see that,
her nature sensing its continuum
with the Beatific Vision. Atemwende,
breath-fetch, the eye no more deceived,
beggars translation. Her decencies
stand bare, not barely stand. In the skeletal
Orchards of Syon are flowers
long vanished; I will consult their names.
Climate, gravity, featherlight aesthetics
pull us down. The extremities of life
draw together. This last embodiment
indefinitely loaned, not quite
the creator's dying gift regardless.
Clear sky, the snow bare-bright. Loud, peat-sodden
the swaling Hodder. Of itself
age has no pull. Be easy. With immense
labour he can call it a day.

-- Geoffrey Hill

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