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  • Ontario Creates
  • Ontario Arts Council
  • Canada Council for the Arts

The Long Walk to the End of the Garden

From Brick 82

The rusty stain on the pillow, the rumble of pain

in his knee, impromptus of a dream in which

he hacked his way out again and again, the dawn

fading up from the green-blue-green of the silver birch,


a flourish on the surface of the pond, a ragged skein

of bindweed on the stone-cold statuette


of that thin-lipped girl from the dream, the odds-on bet

that nothing returns or renews, that the stain


is just what it seems, that the sudden catch

in the throat, the moment of blind regret,


will be all in all, that his way through the garden wet

will take him, for sure, out by the willow-arch


on a morning much like this, and into the lane

beyond which must lie the far field, beyond which


a nameless road, beyond which a landline drawn

in clumsy charcoal below a clumsy sketch


of himself as pseudocide, a frantic silhouette

soon smudged to shadow by incoming rain.

David Harsent has published nine collections of poetry, including Marriage (2002), Legion (2005), and Selected Poems, 1969–2005 (2007). His collaborations with Harrison Birtwistle have been performed at venues that include the Royal Opera House and Carnegie Hall.

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