It rains it rains shepherdess, rains on the river – as
if on thicker liquids, cream or latex, raindrops stot it
to pitted rings in water, which swell to hoops of water.
Up gallop young men, each of them pleasingly sharpened
to hunt down dormant crepitus in smooth sprawled limbs
since, speaking botanically, flowering’s a sign of distress.
Beribboned looms the large one, stolid in his pale satin
who was ever gravely loving but was not much loved back –
he’s ruffed for the arching gleam and flop of tulip heads.
Some buxom clouds lollop along, gloweringly under-lit
past russet trees brushed dark, fine-feathered by sable hair.
What’s that inhuman call, far into the woods of no ears.
High confident calling
to no one it knows of
from no throaty talker
nor squirreled in ears
it fans out to soar over
or dilate that one iris as
purplish as hearts whose
it isn’t – so, pulsating to
mouth every anyone, it
uncoils as invoking –
opens its confiding peal.
clump into celestine’s
eye-blue spar & chink
on snow-muffled ears
About this poem
This poem was written as part of ‘The Blue Crevasse’ project, which marks the centenary of W.S. Graham in 2018. The image of a blue crevasse famously appears in W.S. Graham’s poem ‘Malcolm Mooney’s Land’, and the author’s estate welcomed the idea of creating a similar metaphorical space where admirers of the poet might, in a sense, be lowered for a month’s solitary ‘residency’.