Padding through the grounds of a great house,
meaning to make sense
of all this landed equanimity,
lawn, gazebos, coaltits, wagtails
and garlicky water, I want to tell you
beware of Australians bearing gifts.
I bring along the stink of restlessness
like an infection, like a second skin;
but to say this, friends, would be to patronize,
assuming you don’t know what you know.
Hopkins lived here.
I can’t pretend to equal his unrest
nor his quick marvellous inwardness
with spray, pod, quoin, penumbra, ripple,
everything unresting in creation,
but cross the garden, quiet as a fieldmouse
to that waterlily-splintered pond
where a bent classical figure, Prometheus maybe,
looks up to make sure
promised Lancastrian thunderstorms haven’t broken.
© Chris Wallace-Crabbe