in memory of a stay and two jobs at Keswick, ’67

On a low night
rain shocked my face
Road, space, wind
flung a grimace
No-one will hear me out
make me a place
No-one, no-one, no-one

By day I tore rock-
hard earth in a freeze
of silence, jokes
Who is wise to my tone
in the scathing breeze?
No-one, no-one, no-one

In the long afternoon
I stared at the sun
Pick and shovel
from my mind spun
Who sees that bright penny
from heat’s mint torn?
No-one, no-one, no-one

The wind that night
tore its nails on the road
I came to where the lake
the full moon showed
shrieking the crazies of light
Who can probe that lake-load?
No-one, no-one, no-one

The full moon burned
each month. Paper knowledge
shivered in my head
Five years at college
gave not a ghost
to befriend my cold mileage
No-one, no-one, no-one

On hot stones of morning
I looked into eyes,
brushed past women’s chests
Who can dodge the cries,
matchflames in air,
that tell of burning thighs?
No-one, no-one, no-one

On the 4 a.m. road
the hell-howling wind
blew me to work
I stumbled, blind
as the loaves I would bake –
but to no fresh mind
No-one, no-one, no-one

Stand, stand,
do your slow mime,
sit. Who convicts you
of social crime,
as you scuffle your bacon
at breakfast-time?
No-one, no-one, no-one

But the day is long.
Turn, twist, jerk
(sealed off with ice)
in the oven of work.
Who brings sun to my cave?
(Who laughs where I lurk?)
No-one, no-one, no-one

Go down, sun, go down.
Let the brilliant black flood
spring over rooves
and trawl me in mud.
For who would stay
ever earning clothes, food?
No-one, no-one, no-one

Go down, sun, go down.
And I leant on my pick,
and sum and answer
seemed to flick
through my head. Who can doubt
such arithmetic?
No-one, no-one, no-one

The day was over
that taught me to count
the hours. And later
I came to mount
a small hill of blessings.
Who derides the amount?
No-one, no-one, no-one

A family certain
as the sky is sure,
a job I enjoy
at times, and endure.
And the charge of words.
Who can call me poor?
No-one, no-one, no-one

Where I move by day
through untidiness, noise
trees pour green water . . .
the narrow backs of boys
in the school, say to no-one
that I have won a voice
No-one, no-one, no-one

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