The Nondescript


I am plural. My intents are manifold:
I see through many eyes. I am fabulous.

I assimilate the suffering of monkeys:
Tiger and musk-ox are at my disposal.

My ritual is to swallow a pale meat
Prepared by my ignorant left hand.

It is my child’s play to untie a frog,
Humble further the worm and dogfish.

When I comb the slow pond,
I shake out a scurf of tarnished silver;

When I steer the long ship to the stones,
A brown sickness laps at the cliff’s foot.

Shreds of fur cling to my metalled roads,
Old plasters seeping a little blood.

I dress and powder the wide fields:
They undergo my purgatorial fires.

Come with me. I will shake the sky
And watch the ripe birds tumble.

It requires many deaths to ease
The deep cancer in my marrowbones.

I have prepared a stone inheritance.
It flourishes beneath my fertile tears.

from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2002), © Peter Scupham 2002, used by permission of the author

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