View from

Show and Tell


“In the actual, from which another life/Is straining to burst, to set out in navigation,/Or be swallowed by demons in the leaves.”

So much time thinking, staring at nothing—

The monstrous heads forming among leaves—

Jaws opening and closing in the swinging

Of the boughs—always the making of something

Other from what is, from what is presented—

And the mind following its own purposes,

Half-aware of the trees, half out at sea.


Memory, imagination, constant rumination,

Introspection—the idea always at the ready,

Arising out of the thing, a fabrication to replace

That which is here, and another notion

Ever at hand—and all this to what end?

Worlds upon worlds of fantasy, minute

After minute of involvement in the pretended.


Is there not sufficient here for engagement,

For immersion in the actuality of things—

Is it not possible merely to be and to see?

What use in the remaking of what is,

In making such faces of leaves? It is a breeze

Tossing its way through laden branches,

Perceived from a place of dis-attachment.


And yet all that is valuable seems to be

In voyaging through the uncreated, where

Nothing firm can be seen, touched, heard,

And—all without being—has existence,

Vitality beyond that of the body, attraction

Beyond anything given—where seeing itself

Is a force for escape, for the elsewhere.


What is it that presses at outing, is working

For its emergence, that would be freed

From the obvious? To ask is to drum

At a membrane, every thought a bulge

In the actual, from which another life

Is straining to burst, to set out in navigation,

Or be swallowed by demons in the leaves.


Harold Jones is a New Zealander, who was educated at Cambridge University, where he was awarded an Exhibition to read English. His poetry has been widely published in literary journals in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and it has won the acclaim of pre-eminent critics and poets: among them, Ted Hughes, who wrote, “I hear a real voice, a real movement of mind cutting through resistances.” In the United States, his poems appear in Merion West and VoegelinView.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.