The Wall

    (extract from a work in progress)

We don’t know the ins and outs
          how should we? how could we?
It is not for the likes of you and me to cogitate
high policy or to guess the inscrutable economy of
the pontifex
          from the circuit of the agger
          from the traverse of the wall.
But you see a thing or two
          in our walk of life
          walking the compass of the vallum
walking for twenty years of nights
          round and round and back & fro
on the walls that contain the world.
You see a thing or two, you think a thing or two,
in our walk of life, walking for twenty years by day
by night, doing the rounds that maintain the world.
          on the hard tread
          of the silex
on the heavy tread of the mound
up in the traversed out-work, stepping in at the
alert, down at the via quintana stepping it double-
quick by numbers to break y’r trio-heart . . .
                              dug in wrong side the limes
or walled in back at depot?
                                        it’s evens, more or less
as far as jumping to it goes.

Jesus Mocked by David Jones, 1922 [National Museum Wales]