[for Samuel on his 15th birthday]
A woodlouse makes its way
Through the jungle of the grass.
Past sunlit drops of dew. And daisies.
Bees are abundant on forget-me-nots.
It is high spring and Death locks down the land.
The mind is autumn, turning winter.
The dawn is the head of a horse.
Its flaring nostrils, the wind.
Its bloodshot eye, the sun.
It knows it is to be sacrificed.
When the sun and moon have set,
The fire gone out and all voices stilled,
There remains a lamp. So says the forest teacher.
Is there a song no nightingale can match?
A breath too deep for us to feel its touch?
The woodlouse crawls past fading drops of dew.
John Drew has lived on
both sides of the Himalayas.