Out of this wood do not desire to go. Here is where enchantment starts. Here is where confusion begins. Here rulers of different realms assume masks of faun, ass, wall, moon and lion.
Out of fallen beeches creep the ghosts of time. The wood is full of ghosts. Of burned leaves if nothing else. Then they disappear and then the trees are burned.
It is a strain talking on several levels like this. Wood is not wood. Ass is not ass. Wall is not wall. Enchantment is not enchantment. Talking like this is just talking. It is like being stripped naked.
The naked are enchanted. That is where we begin. That is a faun. That is a lion. The ghosts of time enter the wall. We don’t talk of ghosts in walls. The wood is the ghost. The word is a ghost.
Here is where the confusion begins. It is a strain talking. Like this. Like that. What will they do with all that grey wood? Wood is not wood. Ass is not ass. It is like being stripped naked.
The Immigrant at Port Selda
I got off at Port Selda and looked out for the harbour
but it was quiet, nothing smelled of the sea,
all I saw was a station by a well-kept arbour
with a notice pinned to a tree.
It said: Welcome to Port Selda, you who will never be
our collective unconscious nor of our race.
This is the one true genealogical tree
and this the notice you will not deface.
It was beautiful there. It was Friday in late
autumn and all the birds of the county sang
their hearts out. I noted down the date.
The sun was shining and the church-bells rang.
from Minimenta: Postcards to Anselm Kiefer
2. Wind, Cloud, Drilling
How often have we watched trees
move against dark cloud, their frail
armature part collapsed, part thrust
against the wind, the leaf-sail
of each bud billowing to squeeze
light from dark, energy from dust?
Unrest. The un-ness of things. Twig
like a broken No. Concrete steps.
A drill. A bulldozer. The cold lips
of November pursed for a kiss
that is more like a blow and all this
far too late, too troubled and too big.
Everywhere the human voice. How can
we help but hear it in grass and air?
Even a wall is only a tall noise with brick
syntax. High clouds whisper human
non-sequiturs that turn to rain. Where
can we hide? Why this sense of panic?
A man and woman in a field. The rain
starts and they take shelter. The grass
runs all one way. They embrace. They hold
each other as if they could not do so ever again.
Above them leaves fold and unfold
in the downpour that will quickly pass.
The construction site constructing.
The square empty but for machinery.
The cafeteria with its litter of trays.
Everywhere institutions. The lost days.
All this will be broken up, everything.
There will be no drama, only scenery.
And then he turned to her and ran
the back of his hand against her cheek
very lightly. It was as if wind had stroked any
surface whatsoever. He was an old man
or a young man, and she could not speak
or find words because there were too many.
–Bad Machine is published by Bloodaxe Books on 24 January, 2013 (£9.95).