To keep swinish age at bay and boredom
Beyond the forest pale I read:
Screeds of women facile with words,
Books of men with virile wit;
And like the tusked boar myself I root
Between lines, snuffle among leaves
For truffles of exotica,
Trifling words, bluebell bulbs,
Wild scallions of wayward words
That have eluded me for sixty years.
I find ghost orchids pale in dark woods
On paths I have not trod before;
Treasures I have not encountered
In a lifetime of looking, of rambling,
Rummaging, snout down shouldering
Through thickset thicket texts.
I find phenakistoscope,
The last hazel nut husked on the twig;
Steganogram, the last blackberry
Unclouded with mould, touched by frost;
Pseudepigrapha, last sweet wild fraise.
These choice fruits of my autumn woods
I shall wrap in my childhood handkerchief
And take them home to show my mother
Or lay them on my old friend's grave.