Decree

Decree

At five a.m. don't worry, sleep
and dream the un-negotiated deep
while the moon falls back to her day-blue keep
and her mercenary stars retreat.
The waking slope's too steep, too steep
to climb alone on naked feet
floorboard by cold tile by carpet by concrete
by kerbstone by iron rung to meet, to meet
whoever you must at the memorial seat
or under the sign for Eden Street
or outside the baker's, its light like heat
when you breathe on the window and write
in the mist with one finger: wheat.
At five are you more or less complete?
Your shadow's still held where shadows seep
when they resign our shapes and accumulate
in dismal, odourless, underground lakes;
and the face you wear is the face that fits
not the mask you assume when you wake;
and your body's no shame as it operates
softly, on standby, its sluices and gates;
and you lie where the imperial clock can't reach,
beyond all early, beyond all late –
and what might be finished, what never begun,
whatever you might claim or counterclaim,
decline, forgive, forgo or concede
must wait.


from Little Gods (Picador, 2006), © Jacob Polley 2006, used by permission of the author, c/o Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN.

Recordings

Jacob Polley Reading from his poems

1Smoke

2The Owls

3The Kingdom of Sediment

4You

5The North-South Divide

6Economics

7Man

8The Weasel

9A Jar of Honey

10Declaration

11Leaf

12October

13Night-doll

14Moving House

15The Crow

16Saturday Matinée

17Rain

18Elder

19Sally Somewhere

20Attic

21The Remedy 22Dandelions

23Salmonary

24Friday

25Decree

26A Crow's Skull 27The Distance

28The Cheapjack

29At Home

30The Prescription

31Snow

32The Byre

33Wild Hyacinths

Books & cds by Jacob Polley