James McIntosh Patrick, "Springtime in Eskdale" (1934)
The Motion of the Earth
A day with sky so wide,
So stripped of cloud, so scrubbed, so vacuumed free
Of dust, that you can see
The earth-line as a curve, can watch the blue
Wrap over the edge, looping round and under,
Making you wonder
Whether the dark has anywhere left to hide.
But the world is slipping away; the polished sky
Gives nothing to grip on; clicked from the knuckle
The marble rolls along the gutter of time --
Earth, star and galaxy
Shifting their place in space.
Noon, sunset, clouds, the equably varying weather,
The diffused light, the illusion of blue,
Conceal each hour a different constellation.
All things are new
Over the sun, but we,
Our eyes on our shoes, go staring
At the asphalt, the gravel, the grass at the roadside, the door-
step, the doodles of snails, the crochet of mortar and lime,
Seeking the seeming familiar, though every stride
Takes us a thousand miles from where we were before.
Norman Nicholson, The Pot Geranium (1954).
The closing lines make the poem a good companion piece to Louis Simpson's "The Foggy Lane," which appeared in my previous post. To wit: while we should always keep an eye to the ground (Simpson), we mustn't forget that the earth is speeding away beneath our feet (Nicholson).
James McIntosh Patrick, "Glamis Village" (1939)