On Tharston Bridge
Water under the bridge-dead metaphor
Lifted from somewhere, left to lie
Stiff on the page. Yet now it comes to life
Simply by being written down, repeated
Like something in the liturgy, words chanted
And echoing down the old cold labyrinths.
I pick them up and warm them on my tongue
Bringing back all that happened long ago
And flowed away, yet also can be seen
Far down under the parapets, going on,
Not to be stopped or hindered, staying there
In bits and pieces, shatterings and sherds,
Not to be joined together and made wholeBut water under the bridge, still flowing on.
And still up there, polluted, trodden down,
Your dust scuffed up, your hollows mapped and clear,
You watch us still but vaguely, out of touch,
Reached yet irrelevant, your glow diminished
Because familiar, stained with rhetoric,
Like some old politician one thought dead.
Now exploration reaches past your gaze,
Is insolent with yearnings far beyond,
Ticking off swirling bodies one by one.
Your distance, beauty, mystery are betrayed,
Your sweet enigma fades away and dies,
And red-eyed Mars swarms with new buccaneers.