The Banished Gods

By Derek Mahon

the-banished-godsNear the headwaters of the longest river

There is a forest clearing,

A dank, misty place

Where light stands in columns

And birds sing with a noise like paper tearing.

.

Far from land, far from the trade routs,

In an unbroken dreamtime

Of penguin and whale,

The seas sigh to themselves

Reliving the days before the days of sail.

.

Where wires end the moor seethes in silence,

Scattered with scree, primroses,

Feathers and faeces.

It shelters the hawk and hears

In dreams the forlorn cries of lost species.

.

It is here that the banished gods are in hiding,

Here they sit out the centuries

In stone, water

And the hearts of trees,

Lost in a reverie of their own natures —

.

Of zero-growth economics and seasonal change

In a world without cars, computers

Or chemical skies,

Where thought is a fondling of stones

And wisdom a five-minute silence at moonrise.

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