In the West

Of those whose lives indent, meander, stall, elasticate
beyond the points where laminates of land perhaps have met the sea ,
sing the unsung as they slosh and snag and mist their ways
nearer and nearer to the edge of that inscrutable haze.

In hamlets where smoke rises in plumblines, then totters off true,
places where the damp leaves of the season
settle on electric mosses and the fibrous remains
of other histories snuffed softly long before this last
like a blanket warming all the frozen vessels that have passed,

In coastal inlets where there might be leaden sky beyond,
or it might be water, light as air… and boats row langourously out
as if to find the boundaries of all that we have here
the final reckoning of a humbling, muddy, subsistence-based career,

On hillsides rusted with bracken, bog myrtle, bog cotton
bog dwellers carry their carcasses into rich peat
and in light forests, dawns find roedeer in fine rain,
sheets of the Atlantic lost, windtossed, until this random landfall
gives them a place to drop their wandering pain.

They have Joker hearts,
these Tricksters,
Janus, Uranus,
quiet, liquid, thirsty
no obituaries likely
but fresher far than you or me
this rude but fine complexion on the edge of mystery.

Of the blurs and blends of time
in those shy riddling lives sing now
and never ask them for a meaning or an explanation,
On the edge there is no why, or when, or how,
just whisky, religion and temptation.


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