Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ferniehirst Castle

This was our first line of defense. It held
about five minutes. What could we throw at them?
A few chickens to trip over, a cow to block the road,
and one farmer who didn't want anyone hurt.
Sheep and maze remained neutral.
The priest who worked the chapel changed a few
key names in the sermon and went on.

Was there ever a better place to let the enemy through
and years later when he came back enroute home
to act as if nothing had changed?
Nothing has changed. Did you have trouble
fording the Jedwater river? 'Was there
a one eyed farmer, not quite right in the head?
He died. Come in and get warm.
Stay here until you are strong enough to go on.

Centuries have passed since then, all of them
just as bad. The sermon changed this way
and that and couldn't keep up with the times.
Despite architectural plans, rooks know
this castle will go to ruin. When they come for good
as they always do when they find broken stone,
they'll spend their lives on basics, searching for food
and flapping dark signals to the man taking notes.

We do best with short range plans,
so limited rooks take off bewildered.
In any century, to stay humane we lived
in one or another kind of isolation, far as we could
from highway and harm. Exert then,
too much ocean too long or forest, our eyes
started to see things and our blood turned to rain.
This is very old mortar. If we do this and not that
to the floor and don't get too smart with the ceiling
all who return with very old hurt in their eyes
will know they are welcome.

-Richard Hugo

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