Elegy through my fingers
By Euan Dawtrey
I took the burnt remnants of you, up to the Cairn at daybreak
To plant you into earth and soil.
Tucked beneath canopy’s shadow
three pigeons deconstruct the
anatomy of a crisp packet
and wrestle with the skeleton
of a stripped grape stem
lost in the flurry, the feather, the fight.
will this battle be fatal?
pieces of inanimate matter,
all of it.
My ascent was long
though longer for you whoever you are.
I should be thankful for the certainty of sweat.
I see your likeness in the heather and the moss.
It makes sense to hear you in the wind.
The air grew (almost imperceptibly) thinner,
my lungs strained before I knew why.
Lactic acid took electric blood around my breathing body
so my veins popped and swelled a sign of myself-
‘beware of the adjective’
from beyond the river
on the dreamscape riverbank
-the fogged river-
the watery river allusion
the river body that’s hidden
below the murky guise of river.
Small vertebrate bones crunch
like Maltesers under my boot.
I try not to know the animal
I keep the animal below the surface of my shoe.
Not with this job to do
Whatever you are.
I know I’ll find you in an undusted room
you’re a shower illuminated by curtain cracks
you will lay, sprawling, naked on the sofa, on the wardrobe, on the stuck turntable
you’ll collect in roomy corners
I’ll find you
in the air
There hangs the evening star, hot on the horizon,
laid out to cool on the bed of darkening sky
from the eternal burn of hotness
that hums in some lower cavern
just and always
below the line of sight.
Me my undrunk water bottle
my un-mudded calves
my hand-me-down weather-beaten walking boots
my hand-held lifetime
all of it
in the crosshairs of
Mud track leaking from the confines of track
out over the grassy inroads that
over a mound
making a hill
making a mountain.
I want(ed) a burial not a burning
So mechanical men with microscopes can see
a football shattered my arm
a cricket ball bent my index
a stud snapped my ankle bone
skirting boards marked my forehead
fists cracked my eye socket-
I want them to say, convincedly,
‘that hand is his hand
that foot is his foot’
So they’ll know who I am
like I know the subject of those rotted things
defended from dust and feeling hands
behind well-kept well-sealed showing-glass.
I leave footmarks in the wet mud a sign of myself
on my way back down to where
recent rainfall marks the end of one thing
and the start of another a sign of myself
where wisteria cuts a fine line over granite
where rigid heather locks wan blossoms
in sticky fertility
where I can grab fistfuls of winged things
like picking cherries
where juniper and dandelion fight for sunlight
where boatmen and fireweed tumble
into the turbid whirlpool’s turbulent center
and tomorrow, after today,
a father and a son will ascend
these overhanging heights to
walk away my boot-prints
before rain again
I took the burnt remnants of you, up to the Cairn at
To plant you into earth and soil
and sat with my back pressed
against Time’s stacked stone mound,
which is lasting and has lasted
indefinitely, in the slipstream of
where I scrawl your deaf and dumb name
in Scottish rock
with my blunt pen-knife end.