Langarth! O! Langarth!

 
 Silence erects thick walls of inertia
 About the ground of dilemma,
 To bound and contain, to drain
 Resolution from willing ponds – 
  
 But talk can too easily overwhelm
 And divert attention, capture
 Desire too eagerly in gestures
 Of consequence and action – 
  
 Sweeps of generous hand,
 Buckets of excavation, and land
 Turned over upon itself
 Before the well-framed question – 
  
 We stand and mourn good earth
 Sacrificed to gratification,
 And, in our rush to raise a hand,
 To rouse the hue and cry
  
 Why not peer down, down the valley,
 To see the river braiding by,
 To ask where, how, underground,
 Its waters rise and trickle down? 
  
 Contours and grasses, tales told
 In hedgerow seepage, and tracks
 Of squeamish badger, homeward
 Bound by Dawn’s guitar, skirting
  
 Brightest blades of lushest rye
 Where water shines to hasten
 An osmotic dance too early
 In the van of reluctant Spring – 
  
 Ah, Dearly talkative Comrade,
 Who shuffles heaps of paper
 And overlooks the mowhay
 Of Little Regarded Farm,
  
 And the contentment of geese,
 The security and peace
 Of little regarded dragonflies
 Beneath the dry-cheeked willow – 
  
 What do they say, what yarn entwine
 From season’s slowly spinning wheel,
 That we might bind an argument
 To preserve the brittle wax and wane
  
 Of brave Kenwyn’s riverly zeal? 
 It could not do that water dries
 To starve the delta sluice below,
 Yet gladiators and champions
  
 Cry and rant for craven arena,
 For thumbs up, thumbs down,
 ‘Let innocence die, and mercy
 Shrivel!’ As starving eels go
  
 Between the Bull Head’s stones
 And minnow shadows, doubtful
 Weedy sanctuaries of good trout
 Pulled by ticklish boys to plate, 
  
 Let all this, and simple pleasures
 Of naked feet in birthday rites
 Of expedition and assurance,
 Probes of city children to test
  
 The faith and sense of prayer,
 To know, as curving spines prevent
 The eye and ear from going there,
 That source and tribute, delight,
  
 In water for the curing hides,
 In currents turning oaken wheels,
 And pools reflecting uncertainty’s
 Afternoon as lonely confides
  
 And whispers to the waters
 And its images of captured cloud,
 How time and motion of tides
 Tells twilight how it feels – 
  
 O! How it feels beside the ford,
 Between the parish bridges,
 To know the dawn and dusk decide
 The silhouette’s bladed ridges – 
  
 Everything runs down to rivers,
 Water and mis-ploughed soils,
 Minerals and broken branches
 And blanching cadaver oils,
  
 And the seedsman casts his arm
 Where shoots extend and green
 And wave in passing seasons
 To tell where droughts and gluts
  
 Have blown and drenched and been – 
 And the music of the water
 Eases the passage of those passing
 Under solemn joists from Coosebean,
  
 Whose rafts will drift to Lyonesse
 On currents of pyre and grail: 
 Would we, with all our engineering,
 Deny the myth its resurrection?
  
 Or we, with theatres of gasping balls
 And mobs with petulant thumbs,
 Propel slight martyrs, and compel 
 The neutering of timeless springs,
  
 And conversion to sporting dreams
 Of contours’ killas streams, which bear
 The floods and inundations there,
 From moor and thorn to tidal care,
  
 Where cormorant and kingfisher
 Debate the estuarial question,
 While weather carves a judicial stair
 To bear the stones from mountain lair
  
 To lie in broken pieces, shattered there,
 Brought down and cast by profit
 Under gavel of a magistrate Mayor? 
 What’s not seen but simply known,
  
 Which feeds and teases a timely flow,
 May be halted, diverted, left for dead
 To bleach below, and between the walls,
 Arterial walls of hapless town,
  
 The sluicing flow of channel’s dredge,
 The snake of navigation’s skin
 Drawn to quays and wheeling leats
 To keep the drummer’s fragile beats,
  
 To stoke the stevedore’s excited cry:
 ‘Sail! Sail! A cargo from Tolverne!’
 And opes amok with harbour’s pride,
 And beacons set to Solstice burn! 
  
 O! Trench and pour grey’s clotted slab,
 Raise the mortgage-makers’ treaty, 
 Pass the pipe, prepare fine words
 And consume a native’s living prairie – 
  
 No different, the buffalo’s echo
 To farming’s picture-book oohs and aahs: 
 Will we halt this advance of engines? 
 Or, starve the Kenwyn to wash the cars?