IV. The Forest
And some have searched in forests:
gone in under scanning upward stretch,
under the concealing spread that breathes
life out of blemished darkness. We enter in.
And beasts once sealed within bound
out to be named, and never forgotten.
And the trees gathered and are leaning
their heads in whispers, spindle-spiked,
against the wind, covering the paths
to the unplaceable pith-point there.
And the shadows crack off branches
to shatter on the needled floor
of the corridor’s poppy-red glow,
the complement cut from green leaf. Now
look the edge of the forest and its shade.
See! The blade is blunter than we thought.
They came with axe to slash and plant
another forest within the grove, and later
learn to build of lucent marbles.
And this our grain of deep-shot
wood and stone: the maze remembers
the forest, and in it moving hub
the slaying of the bull and written near:
All for love. This itself is thinking
of Mithras beneath the Persian cave
astride the bull whose flanks spurt life
in corn. It is the image found at the bounds
of the North and brought in our sacks
of unexchangeable merchandise. The stones
echo and our feet are upon them;
in this way our soles make exchange
as body to body exchange is made in flow
within the circuit, the labyrinth of
the journey to the centre where the bull
gives out his life.
And thus continued,
as with you who sit so near, a blend is made.
This the way the track leads while stones
and leaves penetrate our passing. There is no
halt, and as we move there is a breathing
at our ankles. Hoof-fall to keel-shift,
the syncopated pulse passes from vein to vein
to where we began not as strangers
in the latticed link of ebb and flood:
for flying particles come together, then
under heat and weight are marbled,
all striation , whole and inseparable.
Beneath moves the leaves and a woman’s
voice is heard woven through with wind
keening for her lover. The over all his name
is lost in tangle of forking branches where
birds cry in chords against the beat
of brook on rocks in fibrous rush
unbroken down to the waiting sea.