The Herb-garden

When a stream ran across my path,
I stopped, dazzled, though the sparkle was at my feet;
That blind head moving forward, Gulliver
Walking toweringly over the little people.
Not that smaller in size meant, in any way, lesser;
It was merely that I could not see them, my eyes
Crunched on them as if they had been pebbles,
And I blundering without understanding.
Large is inept: how my loping arms fall,
The hands not prehensile, perpendicular
Before an inclined trunk. The legs do the damage,
Like the will of God without rhyme or reason.
Epithalamia are dreamed in this atmosphere
Which towers like a blue fastness over my head.
My head is full of rumours, but the perceptions
Dry like lavender within my skull.
Herb-garden, dream, scent of rosemary,
Scent of thyme, the deep error of sage,
Fennel that falls like a fountain, rue that says nothing,
Blue leaves, in a garden of green.

from Collected Poems (Carcanet , 1998). Recording from C H Sisson; Selected Poems (Canto, 1987, 2001), used by permission of Carcanet Press.

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