Eels loop frantic in buckets of blood,
the log aflame cracks as it collapses to ash,

but the shot doe slackens in silence.
It is the hour for farewells. It is the hour

for suckling the stray, for swaddling the runt,
a last chance to smooth back your hair.

Later the polar seas too will capitulate,
swiftly entombing the planet, gravity will dwindle,

the moon unbridled will glide out of sight.
I can watch in slow motion an arrow’s flight,

I can blame the unseen archer for every wound,
but I cannot prevent an adopted parrot

from shrieking unfamiliar names.
What about you will I forget first, and second,

one minute splits into how many moments,
what do the thousand eyes of a housefly see?

Each man will die at the rate he feels inclined.
Every measured pebble adds an inch.


Photograph © Rob Faulkner

Poetry Parnassus
Léonie Hampton | Interview