Lay for the Day 30th
The feast of St Andrew, the national saint of Scotland and patron of fishermen
Forward from here, drawn
one to another
as the fullness lapses into waste,
waste heaps to new growth,
until the final sheer waste,
that is utter and complete,
and a long drink from the shadow waters
like dead souls over the shadowy stones.
Forward from darkness entanglements,
hollow ground where we woke,
to reach the threshold of the open field
lie among our clothes beneath the oak.
Upward sprung from the thin
white grass flower,
sun-burned and lordly among the first grape-crop,
up the hill-slope at her.
And she a twist of hardy fire
like a rowan tree in sunlight.
Onward carrying a baggage
of small verses,
and bright-painted wooden objects,
downhill along a solemn colonnade of books
of the calm, broken faces
harbour antiquity built,
to cross the great stream in a wooden boat.
To be at the last an old man
on a bollard
salt-stiffened fisher-tackle tangled along the cobbles
on the quay, on the qui-vive, mending the nets,
doubly happy in the glare or shade,
whom I would listen to now
light of my youthful obscurity.
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