Care Crosses the River

By Lewis Todd


for Hans Blumenberg                   


Newcomer after ice, first dance 

or sapling bent for Dunsinane 

via Birnam wood in time prepare 

the ground       Insist the pilot light

flashed on in Washington this spring 

will not be stubbed for rain: a span 

of eighty years, a branch, a wing

makes glue of tar; turns sap to wine

takes tinder from the outer bark 

and paints or sacks or paves the streets 

We cleared the heaths      So Betula

demands a queer-light charge across

the bitumen while taking nought 

from none or all           Or so we thought

O splinter        When adage meets plume        

not right: the final mise en scene 

is arrhythmia omitting skyline

only to bring it back     Arrest

the dawn mid slow lurch genuflect

if you like         You cannot fault 

de rerum tonight, the fell-shine grown

in optic regularity

Though each to other uplifting

Though no essential process is alter-

stricken proof for the tribe as this more

than basic lack               A copse

whose lines brought more even terror  

to waste-plant detention hands, my own 

this time           The tops of light caught 

charge of excessive sun, spring, or rotten

obverse season             The truest we could 

Register dieback, no overture

switch to flick, but       Overture: we are making 

a new world in the killing fields, pulling 

nothing from our hats      Elective fate 

is not only deliberate 

nor not         There has already been

dying and the stubborn irretrievable 

starre joins us carelessly at best 

to train tracks and bracken; or      There Is 

A Tale For Every Day To Hear  

For Every Heart To Feel And Tongue 

To Tell             A dream of birches swift 

by stone-drift silver swiftly through 

all unknown graveyards             We fell to you 

Who carried us out of the camps 

to a just blue sky, the gates re-dawning

mid slow lurch      I have seen the meek 

and they will one day make symbionts 

of us           If not you, another           If not

here, there        If not now      then fallen

as yet unwept through rooftiles            I am

in love  especially when the banks 

erupt in contrary praise

though all one choir, hour—swollen 

lung only sung by intake with-

out border, no stones thrown and sun 

nourisheth until the tunnels

take us in         Ever strange being 

innocence and enraged at the hip




Response for all loss, lightness and

reprieve of signature, of youth

relax a shoulder awhile the other lifts

Hereafter your leaving, I fix

a boulder to a glass bird—watch 

it hatch flight, seem to scale the nail

and climb the paint, Betula white

Seems              Even in your weathering

(chapped eyes, split hands, hole in body)

still give thanks            Just; eyes—thousands—elbow

their way through life, through dying: death

another waltz entire        Riddle

with light, first photons beating on 

the leaf-pads, their blemishes 

and blight ran towards a susurrate

township          It has been so long since

I have looked for morning       This

lastest episode wherein the dark

sides of the world are mixed with light

If you want to know birch know rise

from purple from black, drifted to oranges

overbridging the sky puddles yet back 

to ground, in light through the under-

storey, the cancer scares and lazy nerves 

and lost feeling are white pebbles 

in someone else’s garden         If you then 

always others       If pink, somewhere a hive

There is a special almost hilarity 


at sunrise or the thick of a  

riot         No you are not exempt from 

causation         No suffering is not beautiful

Crosshairs, spar-close, trap-hatch:

you are at askance to be reconfigured 

as more-than razor wire, something 

more-than or not-yet love: dance your

way across if you must             Alone in 

the chalk pits is to be or at least to seem

sometimes is to be or is at least now

or at bottommost I am currently 

awash in the birch grove insecticided 

by the integrity of a song which could

be said to have already turned the world

inside out         No crossbow or diesel 

truck in sight    Though morning implies

yesterday and after in slow

gradation, we have come here

in the small hours of tomorrow           I had

not known whiteness until then 

when care crossed the river, waded

waist-deep in shade meanwhile a child

was timing apogees elsewhere

The sprig drops underbridge and runs

the gauntlet cobblestone to find

not all of us are borne into

the future         Each of us expect

a different rain across the fell 

descant the will of waterfalls

in stationed blasts that sound to us 

in stillness now along the gorse

In knowing everything to know

one thing, one line       Only the birch

will find us there deciduous

Lewis Todd is a poet and musician based between Hastings and Cambridge, where is he is currently completing a PhD on Romanticism and Earth sciences.


Imogen Reid

‘Network (Woven Words)’