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The Saturday poem: Golem


By James Lasdun

I'm looking for the crack
where the yellowjackets nest.
I stumbled on it last summer
out here in the snakeroot
between the fence and the forest.
I had no idea
what it was that came boiling
out of that hidden fissure
in a sudden, upturned
blizzard of scalding gold,
only that its stings
were not the whiplash
of reflex, but some fury
my dead-weight must have roused
and in one long crackling flash
of white-hot letters
branded across my brow,
intent on rousing me: I ran,
flailing, incandescent,
in my own wheeling halo,
my suit of lightning, fire
racing through my astounded
body, my dumbstruck tongue
unscabbarding its word
up out of living bedrock
all that bright morning.

• From Water Sessions by James Lasdun, published by Cape (£10). To order a copy for £8 with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846 or go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop

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