Caught by the River

Mourning In America: a poem by Ben Myers

Ben Myers | 10th November 2016

The first snow falls
through daybreak’s seeping –
cloying, wet, exhausted
by the calendar –
when the news comes through:
liberalism has withered
and died on the vine.
America has spoken;
snake-oil sales rise.

In the barren borders
I take the dog to the top
field, the last before the moor
rises to the forged and bolted
silver November sun.
Two days ago he
caught a rabbit here.

Set-traps line the heather.
I have to watch for them, and watch
for the sadistic flame-haired gamekeeper too,
as branch-bound overfed pheasants sit
like bullseyes on the target
of the sky,
and my mind is elsewhere.

Everything I thought was good
in people is rotting now;
crumbling like the trunk that harboured the
resting rabbit, whose form sits
there still beneath snow,
like something turned out
from a mould. An idea.

The dog slow-stalks the bank
that holds the warren
but the rabbits have got wise –
wiser than the people
as they wander barefoot
onto the burning plane.
And snow like the ash of
history’s failing falls.