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Arminghall Man

by Cameron Self


Across the crest of the moon-tugged hill
He stands and stares like half a hoop,
The effervescence reflected in his ape-wide eyes.
He has a clairvoyant’s brain under
The flattened back skull, above
The mammoth crag of jowl—
A brain that knows when it’s being watched.

The valley falls away before him,
Moon-beamed and copsed
With incalculable primal greens.
He has a colour fetish that ekes
Away at his clay mind, all through the day
While he punctures and scratches the soil
With the scapula of a deer:
The fetish is the embryo of choice.

A glint of creativity sits like a boulder
On the escarpment of his face;
It is a sixth sense, a third eye
That tells him of eclipses
And wakens him to the sound of inaudible noises.
He takes the idea and grinds it sideways on;
An idea before fire or tree wheels,
That forms for him out of the earth,
Becomes choate out of the mooned river,
For he is the prognosticator.
He goes down to stare into the water;
He is lulled by its lunar depth,
Tempted in by its promise of fish;
He knows his bones are too heavy for swimming.

He has far to see, a schedule
To meet with history.
Rejoice root-man and see far—
Far over the river’s plain
To the slope out, the slope up,
For you are the exultant dawn,
The first light on the morning of creation.
The slide upwards begins in his limbs
Like a hunger for food, a thirst for water:
Resist it brain-clod, resist it sand-man.

The dark quiescence of unformed land
Squats in the night,
When cycles begin. Can you hear me
Silt-troglodyte, earth-worker?
With your collective instincts,
The ones that you skimmed from the minds
Of dead animals—
The ones that lend you that glimmer of propagation,
That wizard’s eye to the future.

Can you feel me root-man with your dowser’s appendix?
Can you see me across your moon-tugged hill?
For I have passed through you turf-man.
I am your lost seed.

The water that will not hold you from drowning
Washes over me in the dream of another life.

Norfolk Poems




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