Italy to Lord

by Jane Draycott

It’s dark in here and forest green: Britannica,
sixteen oak trees in a London living room,
the little girl my mother in the bookcase glass.
Italy, Ithaca, Izmail, Japan, each page a mainsail
turning, HMS Discovery, none of the rivers
of southern Italy is of any great importance.

Like birds on long-haul flight, let not seas
or deserts, cliffs or icy mountain-tops
impede you. Jews, Kabir, Kabul, Kaffir,
from up here all seems clear (all evil in the world’s
ascribed to Maya or illusion), then home at last
returned from all those navigable miles

to Lichen, Linnet, Logic, London, to find
a century has passed – the forest’s cleared,
the animals all bared and scorched, the gold
all brought to light. I look into the glass,
discover there myself in dense shade, deep
and shadowy as on any wooded island.