Landscape with Knifewound
This is a landscape abandoned by gentle giants,
this edge of Cornwall where the calm
and soft, continuous curve of the rising hills
abruptly crashes into the ocean

down sheer and raw and ravaged, windworn cliffs,
down screaming depths to the boiling water

its rockface baring the throbbing, layered structure
of granite beneath the stricken landscape,

exposing the sundazed pith to the lashing light
above and the gaze of hovering hunters:
the creatures of the heights and depths that lightly
approach the coastline from the ocean.

But landsmen reach the coast by navigating
their way along careful housing estates,
rogue industries, satellite dishes and rainsoaked farms
deserted by their young and the future;

and they arrive entirely unprepared
for the rupture, the urgent, brutal line
dividing the sullen soil that covers the cliffs
from the ocean washed by the splashing light

the line of violence torn across the horizon
from end to end like a savage knifewound
too deep and keen and sudden and surprising
to hurt in the moment of its infliction.

Such landscapes of the soul inherited
from giants confront the innocent traveller
with a surge of passion at the edge of routine
experience, as in poetry or love.

Thomas Land

If you've any comments about this poem, Thomas Land would be pleased to hear them.

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