by Helen Ashley
For so long you have tried to find
a way through it all, when at last
you realise it’s time to stop the search
and build yourself a wall.
And the best part is that this requires
no-one’s permission, no-one’s approval.
You need to locate no site,
no machinery, tools, materials;
excavate no foundation.
There is no marked and measured plan;
the project is neither temporal nor physical;
conceived in the mind, its process
of construction is subject to thought alone.
And though the wall is new, you find
you are choosing ancient brick, imprecise,
edges crumbling, faces flaking,
bricks that seem to grow the wall
from their origins in earth.
That it reaches taller than your own height
is no problem. There is nothing
you need to see on the other side.
A curve of ivy, gloss-dark contrast, tucks
tendrils in, becomes part of the structure.
Some branches − beech, ash − overhang,
but the trunks from which they rise
work their sap discreetly, out of sight.
Small creatures inhabit the crevices,
or tuck themselves among the leaves.
They are there by their own choosing,
you need no jurisdiction over them.
There is a door: iron hinges, handle
that exists on this side only. You alone
are responsible for the consequence
of anything you choose to let through.