Weathering

Weathering

I am old enough now for a tree
once planted, knee high, to have grown to be
twenty times me,

and to have seen babies marry, and heroes grow deaf -
but that's enough meaning-of-life.
It's living through time we ought to be connoisseurs of.

From wearing a face all this time, I am made aware
of the maps faces are, of the inside wear and tear.
I take to faces that have come far.

In my father's carved face, the bright eye
he sometimes would look out of, seeing a long way
through all the tree-rings of his history.

I am awed by how things weather: an oak mantel
in the house in Spain, fingered to a sheen,
the marks of hands leaned into the lintel,

the tokens in the drawer I sometimes touch -
a crystal lived-in on a trip, the watch
my father's wrist wore to a thin gold sandwich.

It is an equilibrium
that breasts the cresting seasons but still stays calm
and keeps warm. It deserves a good name.

Weathering. Patina, gloss, and whorl.
The trunk of the almond tree, gnarled but still fruitful.
Weathering is what I would like to do well.


from Inside Out: Selected Poetry and Translations (Polygon, 2008), © Alastair Reid 1978, 2008 used by permission of the author.

Recordings

Alastair Reid

Alastair Reid Downloads

1A Lesson in Music

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2Curiosity

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3Where Truth Lies

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4Growing, Flying, Happening

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5Scotland

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6Once in Piertarvit

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7Whithorn Manse

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8Mediterranean

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9Speaking a Foreign Language

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10The Rain in Spain

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11The Figures on the Frieze

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12In Such a Poise is Love

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13Quarrels

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14An Instance

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15Outlook Uncertain

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16Cat-Faith

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17James Bottle's Year

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18The O-Filler

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19Stalemate

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20Directions for a Map

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21The Academy

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22The Spiral

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23Daedalus

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24My Father Dying

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25Weathering

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Books by Alastair Reid