The Forests of the Self


            by Richard Hodges





Artificial Light



A puzzling business, setting up this campsite

In the forests of myself,

A tent, a little fire for light.

By what right do I call this “my space”,

Call that “wilderness”?

Could I let die this artificial light

And live the darkness,

Only sense and feel these presences

Out in infinity.





“Who am” is an unquiet predator

Who stalks the forests of the self

By moon and sun.

His prey is great fat images;

He spies one, runs it down,

Tears off chunks, swallows whole,

Then rests in brief satiety

Rolling, lazy, on the ground,

Taking on its smell and stain

To ease the next hunt.

Sometimes he stays his own sharp hunger

To assist a fellow hunter,

And once in a great while

Climbs a hilltop high above the treeline,

Perhaps with a companion,

Looks around.

There it all is: forest, desert, river, sky.

And far horizon: calling quietly,

Receding always if pursued,

Unknown, unknowable,