Not even the sky is free from our graffiti:
air-currents all day long smudge and emboss
flock trails scrawled by planes over the blue
latitudes of summer. Fine crystals of ice
drawn by the billion through that high cloud-chamber
in the wake of our irritant particles of business,
haste, anxiety, longing to be elsewhere,
they leave the sky’s intangible islands and cities
barred or netted with oblique lines. Beautiful
when a sinking sun touches them off or a breeze
frets them to solvent lace, still they inscribe
our failure to leave anything unmarked, our helpless
filling-up of our own space, as we thincken the mind
with noise, with chatter, with a scratch-polish of dullness.
Or so the mind reflects, pondering its mirror
nature: and yet those fine-scarfed veins express
tranquillity too and something vulnerable,
ephemeral, and though entirely our own, no less
assumed by nature than the pattern of Dorset fields
or the New Grange rock-incisions. Restlessness
is what we’re made of, as much as breath or water:
you can read it there as another jet goes over
and the dwindling chord of its engine-music spreads
to a rolling monotone with a hint of thunder,
drawing a white thread into a haystack of clouds.
The sky blue tortoiseshell.
Mixed on its palette the curded marquetries
and stones, the scumbled
rag and piled muscle, a slow
on the estuary. Fingernail flecks,
stealing a march; the fibreglass
on a silent thunder of surf.
[Both from Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2000)]