From Goya Rules by Harvey McQueen

Thomas Hardy

I notice how finches bend delicate
dandelion stalks to get at the seeds.

I notice how the cat sniffs the air
before she ventures outside.

I notice the oak sheds more & more leaves
& how the wind whirls them into patterns.

I notice the sun
rises later each morning.

I know that soon the sun will reverse track.
I know that one day I will not be here to see that happen.

But let it be known
here was another man who noticed things.

Rereading Ted Hughes' Crow

The man of theory... no longer wants to have anything entire
with all the natural cruelty of things: to such an extent has the
habit of optimism softened him.
- Nietzsche

It ends with the Lord of Carrion masterful
in a world of silence. Surely a contradiction
- stronger than Death? Maybe Hughes sees
Nature as collective, the individual simply
a brilliant loser. Nihilism proves a forceful
ideology. The linguistic gusto builds up
its own charge, anything is feasible - this
is no simple flirtation with existence. It
takes a while after leaving that blood, gut
& sewerage carnage for this reader to totter
back towards optimism. He's already on
the back foot for he knows reason unleashed
OK the ranunculus
bursting through the soil is only after
spreading its own seed - as are we all.
But to this man of theory each shoot
promises pleasure. No! As an argument
against Crow, that also fails. Is it merely
a tui or a bee's search for nectar or pollen?
The spirit seeks more than the dead-end
that's Crow. But doubt remains predominant.

Poems © Harvey McQueen 2010