Unpasteurised

Peter Redgrove

The strange unpasteurised heights,
And that excellent suntanned all-copper
Waterworks sticker mechanism

With plastic ballcocks sucking at them
And snowflake zinc tanks sunk high
Into the arteries of a cloud-mountain
Of circulating ocean.

We empty the system and venture
With flaming torches into the mains,
Into the conduits maned with weed
That falls about our heads uncombed, which lead

Along strait routes to a booming cistern blown
In a domed cadenza of ancient bricks.

There are here tribes of black bats
Littering their crisp white skeletons.

We lick our fretted lips
Free of their mermaid salts
And a few feet below the ceiling
A band of sparkling mineral crust;

As though one put his salt
Seed into the water, and seeded
Their reservoirs and clouds
So that all might become like him,

My unpasteurised father of the depths.