“Anyone who keeps/A compost heap knows the whole of life”
What can I expect but nothing, when I am
Made from nothing, so nothing too? All
That is of me is borrowed, lent, a temporary
Conjunction, of no belonging, no chance
Greater than the leavings the homeless
Collect and carry: Or if it is not this, it is
Self-created, grown in the lodgement
Of my own mind, which will be nothing,
And the rest of use, of value, when it dies.
Dead—state into state, and out—the whole
Cycles to and from the nothing of the self;
And every state deteriorates, leaves vitality
In that before—what was, no more—and
All this the voicing of mere noise,
Expression of an animal that has learned to cry.
How should it or we be other? We are
Born into a deep sleep, visited by love
In a dream of worth, of meaning, freedom.
You dead—that which we dreamt together
Gone—what’s left? Our love that was loses
Composition, breaks up in the personal,
Is an activity in me, with all the attachment
Of stark fantasy. What’s left is vacancy,
A want that is its own punishment,
A kind of pornography in the mind:
It is a fascination with hunger, where
There is nothing whole on which to feed.
Where emptiness, there obsession: So I
Chase images, presences, tokens, of you,
In a circling round blank actuality.
Where we are—we, or you and I—is where
We are no more entire, undivided: a state
In which we will never be again.
“The Thane of Fife had a wife—where
Is she now?” Anyone who keeps
A compost heap knows the whole of life.
Harold Jones is a New Zealander, educated at Cambridge University, where he was awarded an Exhibition to read English. For 20 years and, more recently, another ten, he sent no work for publication, preferring to work at its development. His work has appeared in major poetry journals in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and has won the attention of leading critics and poets, among them, Ted Hughes: “I hear a real voice, a real movement of mind cutting through resistances.” Recent work appears in Merion West and VoegelinView.