John Greening

 

 

 

Totem

Cedar man says
come out of that
old chest and start
climbing again
Halibut man
says catch the sea
and let it lift
you from flatness
Double-headed
snake says to the
doubts listen and
they say listen
Whale says there she
blows there above
the round tower’s
far escape wheel
Raven says but
memory knows
something that is
going to fall
Sea otter says
then it’s time to
do nothing but
play in the waves
Thunderbird says
conquerors fight
their way to the
top of the pole
Old man says but
my view of the
polo club is
quite adequate
Bear says I am
above you all
you bare-faced low-
down losers look
The Man with a
large hat, barely
audible, says
actually no

John Greening received a Cholmondeley Award in 2008. His most recent collections are To the War Poets (Carcanet: http://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9781906188085 and Knot (Worple). His Poetry Masterclass appeared in 2011; he is currently editing an edition of Edmund Blunden for OUP. His website is www.johngreening.co.uk and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter: @GreeningPoet

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