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The Western Towers
Gone to Earth
The Roman Well
At Ravenscar
After Sunset
An Altar at Cilurnum
A Chorister
The Great East Window
The Hunters of Banna
The Legion goes North
Lines in October
The Maiden Way
A Song of Forgetting
St Cuthbert's Quest
St Cuthbert's Windows
The Ringers
The Snail
The Street
Traveller's Joy
Wind at Night









In this dark corner of the standing wheat,

Weary from battle with the bitter rain,

I sit like Ajax in his dumb retreat,

And watch the wan sun take up heart again.

A world of straw, vast, cavernous and wet,

Unpeopled lies about me—yet, not so,

Not all unpeopled, for a thrust divides

Those two straws lying at my feet, and lo!

A snail with slowly groping hornlets slides

Through his damp jungle, lump of wrinkled jet,

But with what hid intelligence he clasps

This stem arid that, to what discovery glides!

Now here, he peers, now there with four-fold horn

Fronting his universe of dripping corn.

On what enquiry are Ms courses set?

In Mm what high romance does rain beget?

In him what echoings of deity chime?

What ill, what good, what version of space-time

Is his that circling his antennal “when”,

Or curving “where” he interrogates my world,

Unfurling in wetness what in drought is furled?

Unwearied he turns a philosophic mien


Upon my mysteries. Snail, I do surmise

It is but body makes you snail. If you

Could change with me the body, I hold it true

I should this morning in the rainy skies

A revelation see and, onward borne

In the great seeking of all living things,

Querying impatient with my four-fold horn,

Should end in watery joy my questionings;

And find the meaning of my cosmic corn.

I might from life the great conclusion draw,

And happy find God hidden in a straw.



Copyright © 2008 [Fen Tyler]