The Mole Story – an elegy to molefulness
(Dartmoor Camp 2017)
The more I delve and dig
Into the dazzling and dense,
Distant and delicate world,
The more this not-seeing reveals itself;
So much so that today I thought,
Why not close your eyes, forever,
And simply dive? The smell, taste,
The moaning sound of the loam;
Fold deeper into your own
Tunnel into the great unknown,
Become a mystery,
Wait to be found?
But that day I met a mole.
It had surfaced onto the long grass,
Splayed out its enormous hands,
Strewn aside its fantastical spectacles,
Tipped its pink all-feeling nose
Toward the afternoon sun,
And, invisibly, died.
The mystery was here: borne
From the earth where, unbeknown to me,
I chose a spot for my own descent;
Yes, as though invited, like Alice,
To the wonder land and strangeness
Of an underworld drama,
I sat down on the still-warm animal skin,
A tiny velvet cushion of after-life
That breathed into my dark belly
This blind and silent whisper:
This is the once upon time,
To surface and wriggle free and,
Like a seed, burst and shed this skin;
Time to see your hypnosis break open,
And delight in the contours, the mounds
Of your hidden pick-and-shovel work.
It is time, o pilgrim, to live again,
To walk the pregnant bumps of earth,
And as a child, risk love in each step,
That extraction of shadow and soul
Where head pushes through,
Heart, then arms, hands and feet,
Into the shimmering, seeming beyond;
Where the human-being rises up
From timeless mother of ground,
Eyes meek, mouth tilted open in hope.
A good friend joined me for the burial;
Tummy-down in Holy Brook meadow,
We gazed at the mole-ful-ness wonder,
Kissed and studied the velvety beauty, the
O-so-sweet pinkness of snout and paws,
And under the willowy windy trees,
Dug and delved a leafy hole of love,
Returning this soul to its home,
Lenses flushed clean by sudden tears,
Blindness falling on the tiny grave.
This is not the end of the story.
The wisdom of the mole lives on;
It is tunnelling beneath you now,
Through the unseen leaves and soil,
As you turn the leaf of this poem,
Can you hear the turning ground?