Alphabet’s barn-shaped letter, that pastoral
initial settling the land. Trees split
like carcasses, crucks beam-pinned, lifted
from ground to gable, thatched up to the ridge-pole –
heather, straw, reed, whatever is to hand –
protecting us as an owl mantles
her wings over her young. Human sweat,
ox dung, hearth-fire’s smoking filth, winter
granary, beast shelter, food larder,
memory hoard. The way it is inhabited
as language is.
mutating Iago to James
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