At the Edge

Charles Tomlinson

The offscape, the in-folds, secreted
   Water-holes in the boles of trees,
Abandoned bits, this door of water
   On the wood’s floor (knock with the breath
And enter a world reverted, a catacomb
   Of branching ways where the roots splay):
Edges are centres: once you have found
   Their lines of force, the least of gossamers
Leads and frees you, nets you a universe
   Whose iridescent weave shines true
Because you see it, but whose centre is not you:
   Through the wheel of a web today I saw
The wren, that mere mouse of a bird
   Hurry from its hole and back again
With such an energy of glancing lightness
   It made me measure all the force unspied
That stirred inside that bank, still
   As it seemed, beside the flashing watercourse
That came straight on contrary to my direction and
   Out of the dereliction of an edge of woodland.