I found a word-worm in my brain:its knotty line was you.Precious, therefore, I triedto keep it safe with repetition,pedalling it to permanencecome hill, come bunt, come hours that dieand blanch invention out.

Comes the bastard hill anon,and comes the bastard rain:

and then a scary rattle-down,which-while I chanted offour sentence yet at forty miles an hour,a-bounce and slap but keeping still,quite still, that gimballed bowlof level sensewherein lay all my cause.

Comes the happy end eventual,and comes the happy biro.

And so this came, exact,whose perfect faults daunt me not,who carried it still harping in his skully ark,not loosed to luck or loveliness,whose coupled words have reachedforgiven land, and live,and which I could not bear to change, like you.

Comes the sweet worm ideal,comes sweet incorruption so.

From ‘The Extasie’ (Carcanet, £12.99)