A Fraud by Don Paterson

I was twenty, and crossing
a field near Bridgefoot
when I saw something glossing
the toe of my boot

and bent down to spread
the bracken and dock
where a tiny wellhead
had broken the rock

It strained through the gap
as a little clear tongue
that replenished its shape
by the shape of its song

Then it spoke. It said Son
I've no business with you.
whatever I own
is the next fellow's due.

But if I'm his doom
or Castalian spring -
your directive's the same:
keep walking.

But before it could soak
back into the stone
I dropped like a hawk
and I made it my own

and I bit its slim root
until it confessed
then swallowed its shout
in the cave of my breast

Now two strangers shiver
under one roof
the one who delivers
the promise and proof

and the one I deploy
for the poem or the kiss.
It gives me no joy
to tell you this.

(to Contents)


No comments: