Africa by Douglas Livingstone

Red dawn; the clang of hammer suns; winged night.
The ruby freshness furnaced. Then the kite
of evening swarms the air to cool the hush.
The night’s huge mouth split-stretches for the bite

that gulps the land, swift-spitting stars like crumbs.
Again, the dawn spreads eager blood-stained thumbs
to start the avalanching anvil-rush
of gongs. The sun erupts and, stunning, numbs

the drawn pale eyelid. Frail-legged herons walk:
black, white and brown; fitful or swift, they stalk
their daily crust on farm and mine; while plush
executive newts telephone and talk.

A sanguine Earth bowls languid through the lakes
of Einstein’s fields of linear mistakes,
and Africa spreads sideways to the crush.
Upon an ant-heap, parched, a buck awakes.

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