Deep Sea Diver

There’s a field inside my head.
It’s dark and flat and a moon

hangs above it in whose silvery
negative light nothing appears to live.

It’s very mysterious and simple,
on a different planet

to the one outside my window
that moves and is manifold:

each one of the tens of millions of blades of grass
shivers in its singularity;

one sheep’s crusty underwool is home
to a greenbottle settling down to lay
her two hundred and fifty possibilities

while another stares out
of the glazed globe of an eye
not unlike a man who’s lost his mind
but found there cause instead
to be vaguely, dully, afraid of everything.

And beneath the sheep
and field and flattened buttercups

miles and mile beneath,
all is shift and shale,
burn and boil:

old underearth
unseeable, unexplorable
who scrambles through your soft weak rock,
who swims through your molten ocean,
what holds court at the centre
of your solid iron ball the size of the moon?

Once I plumbed down
level by level

into the sea,
into the realm

of the falling-debris,
dead and dying-fish-eating creatures

into the pitch black frigid waters
and blind long-tentacled things;

down among the deepwater canyons I went
and still nowher near was I

to the outer core
of the earth’s interior,
its massive indoors

where I saw hanging there
a sole, or flounder

a self never before seen – never before a self

but one who remained unchanged
in the bright beam of my look
(though something may have gone through it
like the mildest electric shock)

and I rose to the surface
like one who had only that to do

where slowly over the years
all that I held dear came loose

and I took to wandering the fields

that covered the earth
like so many soft individual dressings

and I lay down on one
and looked up at the sky

where I saw a fish hanging
in the black, where I saw a moon.

Greta Stoddart


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