Poems from The Full Dress
"Echidna" first appeared in Translations from the Natural World (see Bibliography). The prehistoric figure shown below is from Papua New Guinea.
Crumpled in a coign I was milk-tufted with my suckling
till he prickled.
He entered the earth pouch then
and learned ant-ribbon,
the gloss we put like lightning on the brimming ones.
Life is fat is sleep. I feast life on and sleep it,
deep loveself in calm.
I awaken to spikes of food-sheathing, of mulling fertile egg,
of sun, of formic gravels,
of worms, dab hunting, of fanning under quill-ruff when budged:
all are rinds, to sleep.
Corner-footed tongue-scabbard, I am trundling doze
and wherever I put it
is exactly right. Sleep goes there.