Turning the soil is Autumn work, Ploughing, forking, hoeing the loam, Breaking it up before it freezes, Driving the moles from their home. Airing the worms out, harvesting stones, And mining the black to bury the brown, Dredging the roots up, combing the waves in, Leaving the fields quite upside-down.
I’ve heard there’s folk who sleep but never dream – That must seem a waste of a night, When I think how my mind is a-gleam with delight. But point of fact, they do alright, Just shutting down for hours on end Affording them time to mend, While not distracted by the random streams That dreamers love to wend.
Coral, that was her name – Not Carol or Cora, but Coral del Mar Dressed in yellowy-pink, she came, As if from an attic trunk or bizarre. Prickly brittle, broken free, Yet often shrinking into her shell – She loved to watch the shallow sea As if in want of a diving bell.
The books call this an igneous province, As if a country of lava – They also call these rocks an intrusion, So more of an empire, rather. But due to the terraces up the plateau, They mostly call them traps – As if they’re prisoners to their nature, Till their lands collapse. Rocks push up from underneath By stealth or by explosion, To reinforce the battle With the forces of erosion. The books call these the flood basalts That roll across the shield Unstoppable, a stony horde That sweep the battlefield.
Out here, we see them all come by, All those that come this way, that is – The trails round here are sparsely-spread, And we are kind of hard to miss. There may be horses, may be camels, May be llamas – all depends – And dogs, who have to earn their keep As guards or hunters, or as friends. There’s a wall to offer shelter Since wind and tigers can’t be tamed – And then there are the soldiers, For even barren parts are claimed. So is it lonely ? Not as lonely As the eagles overhead – And all will come this way in time, There’s nowhere else to go instead.
Beetles, tortoises, and nuts, Pearls in shells and wasps in galls, Hermit crabs in disused huts, Rolled-up armadillo balls, Frogs in mud and chicks in eggs, Goods in crates and crates in hulls, Drinks in bottles, bones in legs, Feet in shoes and brains in skulls.
The desert is a beach That has never known the sea, A desiccated ocean Where the bed has broken free, A long-abandoned ruin Where the rainclouds never play, A once-abundant jungle Where the trees have drained away. The heat above, the cold below, The sand will flood, the sand will flow, And the waves are high, but the tide is slow, And the haze is a shimmering spray.
Telepathy – could it be radio ? Could we ever evolve to receive it ? You’d better believe it ! Pigeon already can, you know, Or at least, the magnetic field, So science has revealed. And then there’s electricity, Made by the platypus and eel To help them stun or feel. And, for sheer simplicity, We all see visible light, or course – That’s the same old force ! But can we ever transmit ? Even bio-luminescence, Is a rare and gloomy presence, Yet feels like it might fit – Lengthening the waves it sends, Detected by its friends Who see much deeper in the red – Though still only line-of-sight, And still not bright. Next – a wire in the head – An aerial, but what does that solve ? How could it ever evolve ? And the energy required To send the signal further than a voice Will never make it nature’s choice. No, we’ll never be wired, We’ll never fill the air with fizz – Not till we’re cyborgs, that is…