You return and find that the landscape makes a demand of your blood marrow. Demands to take of your tongue, your retina, your cochlea, your nerve endings, the split soles of your bruised feet, whatever is left that still flinches, whatever the rooks have passed up. Asks to dispossess you of your language, to sow you in its enclosures, its drained marshes, its ancient prisoners, its vanished peasantry. The trees are bare on St. Stephen’s, crooked; stripped of surplus they pare you back to what you were before, they strip your flutings down to a minimum, year zero of that promise long forgotten, like another owl drowned in the fountain, like sleight foxes in the hedgerow, like the time you pressed yourself to the ground in the rain. To have a voice, for the first time, broken free from ecclesia. The fields empty the cuttings of previous late summers and autumns, alone, with the harvesters in the dark, observing beneath the pylons static cackle, spent, how spent you were then, the lights blazed in the murk, the warmth cooling, you sought hades that year. Life emptied along the public footpaths and minor roads, beneath rookeries, solitude comfort enough, reassurance enough, gambler and itinerant, the old verses recited with a lapsed zeal in the boscage, a quiet stream running from Hannibal, Missouri, alone broke voice freed. You hoped. Elsewhere. Your elsewhere separated from that other life you may have had, that other life you always may have lived, that other life you said then was not living, was not living, that then you said that other life was not living. Others indeed lived. Others lived then and live now, you say, hoarfrost underneath, rising from a ditch you pretend to have slept in. It tells you that you are not of the city, of Atlantic flights, of hedonism, of barricades, of vows in front of an altar, of any vow at all. It tells you that yours is not the fleshy medium that Trotsky and Frank O’Hara write through, not a voyager, not an exile, not a comrade or lover in the struggle, in the fury, in the sound, in the small moments it takes to make life remarkable. You bleed: occasionally. It says. It tells you that you belong here, on the periphery of a village, beside the graveyard, the bells disturb your rest after nights sweating quiet nothingness. This is your script, it says, a butchery, a bakery, a supermarket, urine against the bus shelter, your pastoral is of industrialised chicken production, the distant power stations are impossible stations of the cross, of crawling till your torn in search of her orange rind, of muted barrenness, of the simple miles of outstretched primitive accumulation. Your voice speaks of this, it says, or it speaks of nothing. That’s what it affirms, its prosody dares you to be that other that you know is false, that you are what it says, that sadness too is elsewhere if you are where it says you are, along the edge, smiling at dog walkers, your inner eyes closed years since, heliotropes in an arctic winter. It tells you to undress and thread your linen through the hedgerows, it lets you think of her again, running your finger over the thorns, her, elsewhere, she too is an elsewhere, the thorns don’t cut, don’t slit. A lesson, it says. Elsewhere, a lesson said it. These are your silences, gethsemane on the back of a postilion rider. No one else can do this, alone, in an orchard of fruit fallen into rot, this is yours, here, a garden to be hoed. Underneath, underneath so long ago. No one else to speak of this, the others, like the patter of wind against panes, the others, so long ago, underneath. Underneath her, a Turkish chorus, her, only elsewhere now. With a broken reed pipe, the voice broke of shepherds who have forgotten their dispossession in a world made over in the image of negative motion. Your body becomes waxen, witchcraft, it has always been ours, brands burn from within, abundance in the star-scape, a horoscope they write across your ventricles, her, elsewhere, written too, a horoscope across her ventricles, our last bond, others write their power across out ventricles.