The Spike [or Victoria University College Review 1961]
Two Imaginative Landscapes
Two Imaginative Landscapes
Hawk and Rabbit
The Hawk is death, is buffeting the air
Above a blue but lost horizon.
No clouds, no other wings in sight,
No sun even, just the bare
Chill of infinity — and his eyes
Burning across the quiet fields, to where
Sleek in his innocence the rabbit lingers,
Tingling to stiffness, half aware
That time has already stopped. He nibbles
His green day back to comfort, stays his fear
Just long enough to let that far speck stumble
Upon a dark, insidious dive, that waits
To whistle across the landscape like a breeze.
In between cold fur and burning feathers
A farmer ploughs his customary scene.
Long furrows creep behind him, but he steps
Into his future like a visionary —
Half turning to trace where he has been.
His is the dead end of domesticity;
The groan of earth's deep bowels; he heaves
The whole weight of his days across
His turning fields — unseeing, sees
Only the crisp curd of his passage curl
The soil aside. He hardly breathes,
Intent on some dim pattern marked
Upon the ground beneath him. See
How light leaps in to cauterize those weals.
As he turns, a falling hawk
Will haul this more than likely scene
Into one small corner, one red pin-head
Of sudden violence where a life will bleed.
Meanwhile, the farmer ploughs his field
Into eternity — where even now
The lingering rabbit outstays its scream,
The hawk hangs suspended by its burning eyes;
The farmer is the landscape he would be.
The Hills are barren, we are told,
Grow nothing — even shepherds swear
They'll talk to the valley in the fall
And there grow old in comfort. Only
Our wild, infertile children share
An equal passion for fields nearer home
And for that other, high, crag-twisted air.
And even they, in growing up to courtship,
Step down to love among the lower slopes
Where screes, stray blossoms, bramble bush,
Provide a shelter for stray hours. Of course,
Our men, even the married ones, sometimes
Dare the highest peaks with guns and ropes.
Flesh bedded down, they need to love alone.
But always, always, there are some,
Maiden and man who cannot love alone
Nor yet sleep snugly, even together,
In the warmth and ritual of harvest home.
Something, scratching at their sleep, can still
Make a husband bristle, a young wife whimper,
And long again to race the moonlit peaks.
It seems it is never enough for them,
Our glowing roofs I mean, where warmth
Waits for the thin thread of desire to snap,
Catching the flesh in comfort as it falls.
Our elders shake their heads and point to graves
Where lovers lie in knots, found frozen cold
Beneath the high moon's bleak malignant gaze.
Peter Blandpage 74