Don Pedro

An excerpt from Danny Canterbury and the Jacobean Chronicle 

Don Pedro

The scorch and scatter of auburn trees
Like wreaths that burn and flatter
They absorb the crimson sun and burnish
Plated platterlike across sandy earth
Flayed and withered some poke and point
Their branch spokes upward toward nothing
The tallest, the thin king stands brittle and bare
While below the small scarce shrub grasps and wheezes
Under earth roots compete for water and worms
Slither and turn content and sheltered from sound
Beneath the ground nothing burns or dies without cause
Nature is ruthless and exacting and perfect
And messy as she destroys and destructs
The earth’s disease riddled and fixed
A mother of trees who sees everything
And forgives nothing. The reservoir rests
In the glimpses of a baking orb
To transmit spirals of vapour up
To a cloudless canopy where greater life waits
And waits before the claw and clutch of greedy hunters
Bluntly piercing death into life, scything them free
People scatter too around the rim of water
Squinting their peepholes to see the silent drama
Of life fade by and away like cries
In the night. Gulls twist, contorting air
Or sleep in lairs until the sun subsides
The glistening pool tugs and pulls on life
Vast and sleek a strip of silver light
Lying and spreading across a vat of land
To absorb the plunge of birds and beaks
Enveloping all, concealing foods and secrets
Conceding nothing but itself into the air
The floating desert of the sky
Winds brush the surface: rippling; dimpling
They sustain the swift wings of creeping vultures
Tormenting spindly insects as they patter and plod
Waiting for it to die before they do
The shattering sand of clicks and chatter
Interrupt, at first, the rhythm and then
Become an ambient part of it; just another
Form of life muscling its path through the world
And waiting for death


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