Mick Wood

A man raised in mountains
does not thrive here.
Too much on top of the world
or under its skin,
its subcutaneous mush
its marrow.

No valley to hunker in
when the sky falls,
no big brother bluff
to wrestle the cloud,
just ditch or dyke,
a wetted bed. No princely stag

or kindly cattle god
to spice his dreams,
just eel and pike
gone mad with ancient offerings,
a Gordian knot of Celtic wyrms
brawling in the field's gutter.

A man who knows the futility
of war with peak and fell
lacks the vicious knack
of a land's half drowning.
He has no stomach
to sit on a field's back

and hold its bucking,
haul its spluttering,
suspended between
grey heaven and grey hell
so that we may harvest
its abundant fear

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