Monday, September 5, 2011

Gathering Mushrooms – Alistair Campbell

Gathering Mushrooms – Alistair Campbell

Dried thistles hide his face.
Look closely –
that's your enemy.
Ants carry away his flesh,
but still he grins.
You know him by his thumbs,
round and white,
breaking the earth like mushrooms,
coated with fine sand.

A bony finger flicks a bird
into your face,
daises snap at your heels,
flare in the ground
that you believed was solid –
and a dark wind rides
the whinnying tussock up the hillside.

Gather your mushrooms then,
and, if you dare,
ignore the thin cries of the dammed
issuing through the gills.

Sick of running away,
you drop in the soaking grass.
Through tears
you watch a snail climbing a straw
that creaks and bends
under its weight,
and note how tenderly it lifts
upon its shoulder
the fallen weight of the sky.

O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

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