An itinerant worker returns from a civil war that never quite happened, back through time to their partner, and on their way they see things in England that cause thoughts to occur. In sequence the field repeats, each one slightly differently. In each field a different voice, a different group. Maybe a village, or a city, or a bird. A chaos of significance.
The lake surface is dusk-white noise –
Just so many cut paper gulls
and silhouette ducks – then the dark
cuts across this inner distance
I sit in the greying evening
reiterate a dead song-form
– that of assuming the stances
of nature. But nature is gone
and what remains is a dammed stream
and what remains is a lake house
– people moan and run from nothing
and wheeze. I can’t reach beyond it.
There’s only the monotone lake
whose forms insulate nothing from
nothing. An image of a false
image. I make my offering:
In the morning, a red dawn comes
and fixes the sky in crystal.
Intergalactic prison ships
revolt and institute the new
through law. But for now, the moon hangs
in soft focus, and swans are fed,
by fallen branches whose mirror
in the lake caresses the sky
I am one with all the insects
that will one day eat my body –
when I have stopped, and am resting
in a sense, when resting is gone
I am one with the plants that grow
of me, in my head, in my trunk.
I will give to the cold flowers
what they once gave to me: a hope
I am one with the air I breathe
that will burn me and dissolve me
for aeons, my skeleton rests
until it too crumbles like cake
I am one with the diseases
that will grind me down, as my mind
flares and splutters like a damp flare
in the faint waves on the dark beach
I am one with the words of things
the vast and tangled forest where
nothing can change without changing
everything. My paths will go on
I am one with the small beings
that fizz in and upon my skin
with legs and arms and carapace
made of me. I will be made free
In this place rain has fallen like this forever – a mist, the monsoon downpour and white noise. Then the forest, the edge of a forest where blackbirds call meekly and woodpigeons shelter on the curved branch.
Lightning cracks through everything in vanishingly small moments. And thunder unites.
Spaced along the eternal border are houses, backing on to the woods and in each, the back door is open and swings slowly since the wind is slow. Raindrops fleck the glass, and wet the mat.
In the centre of each garden, one of the risen stands, staring into the swaying woods which moves with the shifting intensity of the rain. It is warm, and their clothes are wet. They never look away. They want nothing except to continue to look. This they are granted.
The lord’s prayer dances on their lips, but it changes nothing, and means nothing. Still they call it, whisper it, softly. Its sound is completely lost in the rain.
They seem still, and at peace. And they might be
Does any animal float as well?
Resting on this peel of thickness
pedalling slowly, and honking
Duck taught the angels
how to fly – see them now
by the barrage, watching for tips –
just put your face in your armpit
and hang there, careless –
that is how to go about it.
Lessons such as that.
And how to remain calm
in the face of such rain
After duck stands up, wrings out his coat
he waves to the angels, who nod abashed
and calmly floats off into the sky
The peculiar tale of the discovery and ordering of this manuscript will be told at a more convenient time. The peculiarities of its form of recording deserve their own discussion – suffice it to say that the text is a gloss of a Hittite or eastern ancient Mediterranean language unknown until the ‘Vrontin’ carving was found in the cave in mountainous central Anatolia. It is perhaps the stub of an alternative development of a primitive religion, although the inclusion of unparsable terms makes its translation very difficult. To aid in comprehension, we have entered the most likely English counterparts, although it should be remembered that, for example, the goose noted in 15  is probably not any species of goose that the reader will be familiar with, although similar behaviours have been found to exist in aggregate over many populations of goose across the world. The most difficult term to translate was found in carving 3.1, where a term for emotional brain capacity was found wanting. We have used the vastly unsatisfactory ‘limbic system’ as a stand in, waiting for a time when a translator with the right powers of sight can offer up a more fitting word.
After Amelia Humber
The tongue of the cosmos mouth
drags its mist along the pond
many eyes of the coral
or barnacle prayers impact
with a soft white thud and cloud
on the world’s hill – and deeper
the deep ink behind things seeps.
I stand in the softened copse
of the shore – rain drenched but warm
unnamed white flowers blow here
amongst the heather – their heads
bob and jump in the quantum
breeze – where I once might have thought
I now dwell with the land’s power.
After Amelia Humber
Strobe lights over the shallows.
The marsh flows, hardly, but still
it flows here with the thin grass
so thin and black, it’s like hair.
A magnesium surface
and water, as the flock-spheres
make their debris way through air
In the mist there are things now
things you never wanted but
were offered for your viewing –
A procession of faceless
saints, a small black sheep hovers
legless, only seen in dark,
an entirely different sky
After Amelia Humber
With a faint humming, negate
the sky as an unreached space
(a space we can hardly grasp)
and split open a vault – to
the dark above the grave pit
ridden with frost and snowlit
pourings – through this chasm tear
see the world as it could be
bare of all ground, all solids
floating in nothingness – then
between abyss and abyss –
as it sees you – iris
vaster even than god’s eye
and the pupil that screams ‘live’
Painting credit to https://www.ameliahumber.com/
A Visit to Sylvia Plath’s Grave
Seeds of grass, pods of a clock
rock in the wind which picks up
and the dog barks once – we climbed
up green cobblestone steep street
and playground to Heptonstall
saw the abandoned ship drift
along a gravestone sea-path
and bump against the present.
It talked, the wind, it said words
from a wind tongue, softly, out
of itself in hidden verses.
A button is enough, placed
In her dirt. Sigh with the breeze,
over the empty space
The river never rests – pushed
by its own waters, it runs
pulled forward with earth-mass speed
round the bend in the land depth,
and at every moment, rain
sinks from the hills around – ends
with a collapse, its own path.
It is so fast and soundless
this – small orgasm of force
trillionfold, rumble drowned.
So perfectly the river
is loved by the rainfall – I
would have such friends
Note: Descartes’ aesthetics held that a creation of many minds can never be as beautiful as one mind, a creation made by an isolated or lone consciousness. This is an interesting analog to his epistemology. However, the idea of an isolated consciousness, aesthetic or otherwise, is incoherent, and so…
What better way
to give the lie
than to stand
in the muggy heat
here, on the periphery
where seed foam rises
up between us –
the city in a depth of shade
Where cloud and sun judder –
who will win the day.
The heat and sweat will have it
drawing the patchwork
city deeper into distances.
No one mind held this.
And yet – here it is
We are not built to think of space
of true beginnings and endings
when the book becomes less and more
when cups and paths and horses fall
off the registry of items –
yet we do and it brings a break
in thought to the page. The blue roar
of water as I’m arriving
at work, draws back concepts like a
curtain / The sun on the water
is scintillating like a proud
child. Light blue eyes encapsulate
me and the red waters rise. Rain
on the air after a storm, rain’s
ghost captures small insects on its
silk. Far off a head of thunder
attempts to drag itself out of
the blue. As I’m leaving work, I
become tangled in the silver
linings. The car is hot, I put
Takk by Sigur Rós into the
CD slot and feel antiquate.
The end of things is far from me
and the cool breeze. The sun blinking