Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ken Jones: POSTS

This is not about gate-posts, boundary posts and other posts that have something obvious to do.

Taut barbed wire
smooth new fence posts
each held upright in its place

No, this is about posts that have now become free to be just themselves.

Particularly in wild places they are welcome companions. Well-weathered, they have been left alone long enough to have developed a bit of character. When plodding across the moor, one can see one of these fellows approaching from quite a distance. There’s time to savour the encounter. Some sport wisps of wool blowing in the wind, and others are clad in mosses and lichens. It is an honour to salute such a venerable but well set-up post.

Against the sky
a slotted post
its bright blue eye

But beware of clapping one of these ancient too heartily upon the back. Many have been retired longer than their useful employment. And they rot from the bottom upwards.

Then there are the old salts you meet on the sea shore. Some just manage still to keep their heads above the sand, each standing in a little pool which carries its reflection. Others have grown top-heavy.

Blockheaded posts
their thin shins
gnawed by the tides

I’ll even go out of my way to see how some lonely old post is getting on. Nothing anthropomorphic about all this ― the whole point about posts is that they’re only posts. What is it that they have to say? “Deaf as a post” if you ask them. But if you are quiet and let them take you by surprise, in the simple post-ness of a post there is everything you need.

The Way marked out
with ancient cairns
of horse shit

by Ken Jones
Aberystwyth, Wales
reprinted from The Parsley Bed: Haiku Stories, 2006

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