THE RISE OF LEVIATHAN
‘From whose womb did the ice crawl forth?’ (Job 38:29)
Who will say when or how the waters came,
when or how or from what atmosphere
the apparition of the poisoned waters came,
hefted aloft by its own dark bulk and splendour
from the pressure of its own abysmal bowels,
mounting to unleash
such labouring swells as bore the lush green world,
churning tons of carbon, mineral waste,
the sheer black glass of the larval hills liquidated
Where on earth was impregnable
when out of the realm of ice and snow, as up from the kraken’s cave
came hell and high water,
the earth’s hymen breaking in hysteria,
the sea-valve cervix breaching the contractions?
the coastal barricades burst, the buildings skittle to the sea;
tall towers crumbling like labyrinths of sand.
Insurgent groundswells on the far horizon borne
yawn open, clash
down, fly through Tokyo like a stone
through glass, make a void of Washington.
London lies like shattered crockery
to rasp and scour beneath the solar wind.
Waves uprising like quavers on a bar-scale,
the pluck and sweep of strings fortissimo
and the overthrown kingdoms of the earth
like wasp-grubs to a bath of eels,
gorged in mad thrashing as
the fast waves, frothed and twisting, flash and coil,
thrust landward, spit disjecta
and the wild hash hail.
Who will remain to tell which way or how
the ocean bucked and reared, mashed with tidal slicks of gore,
the dark sky slit with rapid spunks of lightning,
the corpse-tide laid bare.
Lurid squalls pluther and slub from the navel of the world,
a dervish that radiates darkness,
gravelling the wreath of the ear of the wind.
Pillow lava havocs the ocean troves.
Replete coffers disgorge
the centuries-long laden junkets of spoil,
such plundered trash of scintillant booty –
the scattered cosmos of their sovereign crowns
never countervail the damage
in the telling climate of our time.
Now somewhere, beyond the limits of the land,
cleft hunks of crystal density
slogger in the billowing fetches of dark sea.
Metallic ice-bluffs, sabretoothed, wield out of the chaos.
Thaw-creaking earth-crust ripped clean through;
ridge-push; slab-pull; the breath of the tsunami
altering the matrix of creation; a watershed dis-
placing the great tectonic scales.
See the diaspora of unfastening ice dislodge
the mammoth energies within the mantle,
the swirling iron of the polar dynamo
whose jousting balances foreclose our ruin.
With hackles of coasting ice-crags
this apparition of the spectral waters comes
to violate in its virginity.
The stalking glaciers snap and collapse,
the rubble of the ages indistinct.
Moon scruples the massed, vast tidings;
the abrasive grind, hiss of scalding ice-blocks
covenants with no man.
Raking, shivering repercussions mist
and vapour, the steep and hacking waves.
Such gouged offal condemned
through corkscrew slippage and welter
to the bone-littered belly of the deep.
Each peninsula dunked like a sop in broth
into the unfathomable, out of true interior.
It is the ground prancing like a marionette.
It is the ice wielded and snapping in the melt,
the turmoil of the bleak tide roiling,
the massive ice-plates cracking and colliding
and the risen waters the risen waters
the hydra-headed, self-consuming waters