The Coming Hardships

The Coming Hardships


Beyond the gate there’s hope, hope,
but the chains are thick, unbridgeable:
there, right there, growing green in the trees,
and thriving in the streams – thriving
in the fuller suns. On our side the trees
have been crushed, the waterways, as ancient,
and of a piece with theirs, diverted.
Waterlessness – the sign of our hopelessness.
Yet we’ve learned to live. We save rain;
save moisture, when it’s there, from the air,
and strive to keep ourselves clean.
At the moments of new life we fire dust –
(we’ve an endless supply) –
to bathe our descendants,


to prepare them for the coming hardships,
and save, if we can, their tears,
if there are any (never do our gleaners work
so hard). Hopeless, but not ill-known,
which augments our hopelessness.
For the word of our poet,
which passes through every gate, as poetry will,
and which eases our thirst somewhat –
“Pour these tomes back into the deep;
Un-call the olive tree.
Claim for one’s own the sojourner’s earth.
Take from us all humanity – ”
eases too what, the other side,
they think of as their thirst.


But we know better. Our way of life,
so they have theirs, is untranslatable,
and would, were it to befall them, be unbearable,
as it’s unbearable for us
(could this be any more obvious?).
And yet we live, as I say; we live,
we breathe (though at times they’ve
tried even to proscribe the air) and,
clipped though it is, our blood –
a miracle – flows yet, our meagre,
our belittled, our mocked, human blood.
We’re not going away. For molded
our bones out permanency’s breath.
Pressed our flesh out ante-diluvian clay.

What are you looking for?