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published in collection, Clearing Ground, 2004,
Chameleon Press, 2004, ISBN 978-9-8897060-9-8



Clearing Ground


I’m clearing ground
pulling up my weeds
chopping out my undergrowth.
I’m digging up my roots,
slicing the deeper ones through
with the bright spade’s thrust.

The trunks have fallen in the storm
but there are big logs left to burn;
and smoke curls down the wind to me.

It smarts my eyes
and brings new tears – though these
this time are tears from work, and mine.
Then lines of ash on earth
where trees once were.

But stubborn stumps are rooted
deep. I hack at them and sweat,
light bright fires on their years’ rings
though still their bared chronology is thick with sap.

And now the smoke has gone that made me weep.
The air is clean, the ground is clear –
an empty space where once grew all that I held dear.
What’s left of roots is buried deep –
at last there’s room.

But all around
this new-cleared ground
the living jungle looms.



Martin Alexander


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