Between scattered clumps of weed

Thom Gunn: Fennel

High fog, white sky
Above me on the bouldered hill
Where I
Stumble between head-high
And scattered clumps of weed
–Fennel, of which I once thought seed
Made you invisible.
Each forms a light green mist
–Feathery auras, though the look deceives
For looked at closely they consist
Of tiny leading into tinier leaves
In which each fork in sharply separate.
Yet tender, touched: I pinch a sprig and sniff,
And it reminds me of
The other times I have pinched fennel sprigs
For this fierce poignancy.
I stand here as if lost,
As if invisible on this broken cliff,
Invisible sky above.
And for a second I float free
Of personality, and die
Into my senses, into the unglossed
Sweet and transporting yet attaching smell
–The very agent that releases me
Holding me here as well.


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