From Requiem for an Agnostic – poems by A C Clarke

From Requiem for an Agnostic



Have mercy on us flowers we sowed and severed
small creatures we sprayed into silence

Have mercy on us trees that we embittered
grass that we stamped into obedience

Have mercy on us air we poisoned
water we filled with alien forms

Have mercy on us every living thing



Glory to the sun’s bright blade swiping the eye
of a winter morning, glory to rain
that tops up overflowing burns
like a generous barmaid

Glory to rooks who see out winter
following the plough, grubbing worms,
glory to hens whose children are seized in the egg
Glory to the cheerful malice of foxes

Glory to buzzards that lord thermals
on effortless wings, to the small, quick lives
that rustle through growing fields, to spade-handed moles
Glory to tadpoles bubbling in a spring ditch

Glory to everything that has ever lived
to everything that has never lived
but is the cause of life in others
Glory to whatever sparked Creation

Glory to however it ends



What kind of God needs praises?
If praise comes it must well from a spirit

that feels the splendour of the variations
creation plays on a single string.

Holy holy holy caw the rooks
from the high trees

Holy holy holy sings the river
among the reeds

Holy holy holy shouts the rose
as it strips for winter

new buds already tingling its tips

A C Clarke‘s fifth collection A Troubling Woman (Oversteps), centred on the medieval visionary Margery Kempe, was published in 2017.  Her pamphlet War Baby, one of the joint winners of the 2017 Cinnamon Poetry Pamphlet Competition, is due out from Cinnamon Press early next year. She lives in Glasgow.