In sluggish, yeasty rivers, they glide like logs;
time laden. They sleep in mud, clogged
with a cruel sacredness. They lie and weep,
weep and lie, showing that grief's for fools,
and tears are trickery.
Dense and old, but moving fast to kill,
their only wisdom's stony memory. Still
cold and glassy eyes reproach
from long before we were us,
and other monsters were.
They swallow time, and, to keep them safe
their children too, so that their jaws
are cradles, and their mouths disgorge
the future. Their smile knows this.
And more, which you don't want to know.
Are you smiling?
Questions is a collaboration by Lucy Kempton and Joe Hyam. Poems are based on questions drawn from an agreed starting question and formed by answers, which contain and inspire the next questions. In response to Lucy's first question, Joe kicks off. This follows our earlier work in Compasses, archived here, where Lucy's photographs illustrate Joe's series of 50 sonnets under the title Handbook for Explorers.