The Toad Mother and the Cemetery:
Last night on a tv documentary
About the amazon I saw
One of those toads that lays eggs
On its own back. The skin grows
Over them, and then, after telling this
They showed the toadlets emerging
From the holes, their tiny fingers
Splayed in the first water.
So it is with the graves
On Dutton Hill – we put them in
And the grass grows, like a skin
Until the green is smooth as a back,
the larval ghosts emerge, waving their
new spectral fingers and toes
in the ether of thought, darting out
of their snug holes
into an amazon of time.
They buried Mary first. It must be a
Strange sensation to begin a cemetery - climbing
A slope and knowing, by some occult art,
That this is the spot to break the turf,
To start the nursery of the dead, all raw with grief,
Or, and usually, relief, when the strength of the body
Outlasts the mind, and nature’s force
Shows its hand.
I needed some watercress, and that
Was an excuse
To descend again, down the flank
Of the hill, to the hidden hollow
Where they lived. I found the feathers
Of a crow, and of an owl,
Crouched in a ditch
By the remains of their wall, and sang
To myself, or to them, as though
The murmur might
Also penetrate the skin
Of the past they’re now living in.
That I never knew, the wild plums
Are still blooming
And the creek flows on. Clouds, of
A strange azure
Brood overhead, full of amphibious
Drops, eager to leap down
And hop across the sod.
Can you hear me there,
Inside your pods? Are these
Poking from the mold,
Your new hands?