Thumping scruffy pugmark, Welsh metaphor,
loop power through our cochlea with herons’ beaks;
place pennies in our fuses, play lead guitar.

Though we might not protest, we’d be distressed
if you took up photography and only gave us
telephoto moons, gravure rocks, silhouettes not
men tackled with clouds who kneel to sunset nets.
And time lapse weather would turn around.

Prince of apple towns, reluctant mellow gorge,
you mentioned wagons. They did have cars back then;
today, dial-a-poems. Would you laugh?

You joked but also held head still
before the words bards might have known,
asleep beneath the bouncing hills,
so still the stillness might disturb.

But who can see as they in their time?
Who rides down rivers of windfall light?
Astronomers have nets to fish in stars.
Oh, poets have their grief and fun.
Ah, poets have their ways.

Your eyes hung out on stalks like snails,
you said. And so you saw, glad and aghast,
the dipping lights of a dumbfounded town,
the flashing lights of a veering world,
a country scene wherever you went
among the lords of fact and anxious ladies.

And there was always comfort and cheer,
that voice and the light in the barroom glass,
golden in the mercy of their means, awhile.

Green and golden you were and are,
huntsman and herdsman of sawn, splay sounds,
wondering which way is the owl in the wood,
certain of the splash of pebbles in streams,
words tossed greatly as coins, English and song.

By Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved. This poem is included in Selected Poems 1967 – 2007.