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This article is taken from PN Review 217, Volume 40 Number 5, May - June 2014.

‘From Carn Ingli’ and Other Poems Rowan Williams
From Carn Ingli

for Waldo Williams

1. Master Class


The children in the school yard run
to hold the old man’s hand.

They hold the hand that ploughs,
like Dewi, stony soil.

Where words will settle, germinate,
build homes for fugitives,

For the lost children far beyond
the yard. He holds their hands,

He feels the silk folds, thinks
will his plough-hardened thumbs

Print on the silk the skill to carve
leaves for an open door? The children

Hold the engraved memorial hand,
lift faces for inspection,

Steer him into the school to meet
the other teachers for their gentle sentence.


2. Exit Tax

The Western shore is what the left eye sees,
where the headlands of the senses join up
into one frontier: I am a body, this
is an island. Furious or still, what sits
on the foreign side has no words in common.

Shores where day ends, light is pinched out,
where the hand feels in vain for a wall
not there and the foot misses the stair.
The West is where the dead sail; the blistered
slopes, the cloth-smooth pastures, the beds

Of the burns unit, waiting for the drop
into sleep and water. In the left eye’s landscape,
some futures are not possible: ...


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