Friday, 4 September 2020

THE LAUREL AXE

 Brought to my attention by James Marriott in the Times.  It isn't at all clear to m what Geoffrey Hill is on about (it never is) but there is something here I vaguely recognise, a sort of lost memory.


THE LAUREL AXE
by Geoffrey Hill

Autumn resumes the land, ruffles the woods   
with smoky wings, entangles them. Trees shine   
out from their leaves, rocks mildew to moss-green;   
the avenues are spread with brittle floods.

Platonic England, house of solitudes,   
rests in its laurels and its injured stone,   
replete with complex fortunes that are gone,   
beset by dynasties of moods and clouds.

It stands, as though at ease with its own world,   
the mannerly extortions, languid praise,   
all that devotion long since bought and sold,

the rooms of cedar and soft-thudding baize,   
tremulous boudoirs where the crystals kissed   
in cabinets of amethyst and frost.

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