pond

pond

the light fixed
over the water
at night draws
them down
onto the mirroring
skin that bends
breaks under
their light-footed
claw or bristled
span of leg
and their
grounded
flummoxed
thrashing
closing them
down under it
in long starving
breath legs working
in vain knowing only
back and forth
under the water
impassably taut
above them.

the insects
god’s lean poems
full of sap scratch and
stubborn strength
radiant or mute in
word of colour
that hang
kick off on the air
in hurtling flight
that tumble down
the air on
battering wing
tip over
on pebble
in labouring
scrabbling crawl.

they all throw
in their earthly
chips their aerial
bets with the
light on water
skin that holds
brief or long
their marvellous
weight until
morning lays
out the wreckage
of their hope
failed bets on
a false moon
some say.

a mantis pale
bloated green
hung dangling
under the skin
black beetles
still patiently walking
with legs levering in
the clear cool
under the skin
hours on they
hold out with
miracle pockets
of air in trachea
i reason so
only the ladybird
floating yet
unable to swing
open polka-dot
wing covers to
fold out
tissue wing
and
fly
riding yet dry
on a drifting
spindly wing
loosened torn
from the
shoulder of a
another sunken
kind i never
glimpsed only
this life-boat
wing they bequeath
afloat there
times the beetles
who climb upon
each other become
slow-rolling
balls in the
water circus
a carpet of moth
wing come apart
together plastered
on fluttering on
that smooth skin
bursting under
them.

i told them
the long twig
i held out
to them i call
the tree of life
‘climb to live!’
‘climb to live!’

a consciousness
of poem in this
morning grief
things that lived
too close to mind’s
skin falling in
under it struggling
there breathing
out a last motion
scooped out
by hand onto
the page
things to be saved
things to be lost
only the ladybirds
still able to dry
off find a path
up leaf and
word stem
again and fly
on a warming
breath i blow
over those
fetching spots
on the roundness
of their backs.

beijing
november 2011

6 thoughts on “pond

  1. Hey Dean, that’s a great word, ‘meniscus’. Pity I didn’t have it there in mind when I wrote this; I’d completely forgotten there was even such a word!

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