Friday poem: 'Etching of a Line of Trees' by John Glenday
This poem seems to make all sorts of connections between the physical act of making and meditation; they become part of the same process. I get the sense, too, of the making of the poem itself as something physical – the words being carved, cut away, shaped and burnished.
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Sarah, Picador poetry editor
Etching of a Line of Trees
i.m. John Goodfellow Glenday
I carved out the careful absence of a hill and a hill grew.
I cut away the fabric of the trees
and the trees stood shivering in the darkness.
When I had burned off the last syllables of wind,
a fresh wind rose and lingered.
But because I could not bring myself
to remove you from that hill,
you are no longer there. How wonderful it is
that neither of us managed to survive
when it was love that surely pulled the burr
and love that gnawed its own shape from the burnished air
and love that shaped that absent wind against a tree.
Some shadow’s hands moved with my hands
and everything I touched was turned to darkness
and everything I could not touch was light.
'Etching of a Line of Trees' was first published in Grain by John Glenday