Encomium

Artists, hold up the rivers of the world!
Re-route all the inevitable flow
Through fenny drains and artifice.

This glassy surface observed from below,
Through your mirrors fixed and held
Our curving universe, a damp fell,

And being a mute extra in my life
I am dexterously kayaking cataracts
With no little verve and thrill

To preserve those passing actors
And their entourages through a swirl,
Achieving nothing at all.

Apparatchiks and financiers
Will line those canal-sides furnished
With skulls just like trophies

Burnished with jewels and gold,
Only both are grey and dulled,
Only their blood a colour

Known in thickening wine poured
Between our lips within an older world.
I witnessed this appalled,

Hiding behind a sail-clip
On my little persevering hull,
My skiff of walrus tusk

And hacksawed ivory hope.
When the fields are flooded
Inherent a danger in thinking

We are more than we are,
Rain fall, river roars,
Then painted and sold

At Abyssinian bazaars.
So rally, protest in your artistry,
As I wend into a distant, aching lake

Where they practice still
Their beating hearts
And their husbandry.

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