Alice Oswald


You ask me why did I lie down
and when and never rose again.

I of the bluebells
layed on a succulent mattress, frown.

And ask me when shall I get up
and blink and see my friends again.

I run my fingers round my lip,
transmuted to a bluebell cup.

A spider swings from bloom to bloom.
A fungus detonates and slowly
leaf contusions rot to rheum.

And every which way my fly-about eyes
catch this and that and my half-replies,
seduced by visions, vaporise.

It’s when you’ve gone,
(the quite woods creaking after rain),
my voice, a pollen dust, puffs out
the reason I remain:

here I give up the difficult dice
of friendship and I crook my knees
into a zed beneath the trees.
I watch in miniature of man
such intricate affairs as these,
these bluebells tussling for the sun.

since love is round and man misshapen
it may not always accord and if I
and I do furiously reprove myself
hackle up and without impulse cry
or if after if I hum for hours
all cold and odd and feign mad
and vanish with my jacket on my head
and your calm hands just lift and let it by…
I say a miracle a notion at risk
and grown of and aloof to faults and a
terrible demand is love but if you ask
something of refund on your gentleness
and in good time take secretly
another girl and say so guiltily…
then leave me I haven’t such forgiveness…