The Field

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.

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The Bypass

Worry fills the air, it has always filled the air.
In the dark crouched under a cliff edge, clutching
close our churchly comforts, curling
fingers round our hope and hurting.
In bed caressed by muster horns of a great storm
our worries go riding out over the top of the trenches
gunned down by the thoughtless
death-machines, our dreams turned nightmares,
teach us mercilessness to utopian thinking.
We live on the thin red line which hedges provisionally
the gap between dystopia and the real.
We see burbling spitting demagogues
rising from the ashes of war and despair,
And wait for nothingness to dry
like mould in the bathroom
peeling into oblivion and resting on a stone floor,
forgotten by the universe,
not marked by a single smile, but marked
by a single frown or dry tearduct. No.
Our challenge, our tribulations and trials
are but one – to keep the bleeding faith
in life, sharp teeth gritted –
to stand high above the wave and teach it
like lightning it lacks a purpose we fulfil!
To dance in the fire like fire and lift
our friends up, and the weak,
(who are strong but if they can flow
like mercury among the other metals)
Say, drudgers, worriers of the world, rise up,
you have nothing to lose but your fear
We have the stars to win.
And if one day, sun rising
on a field of red martian grass,
disaster comes, we will deal with that disaster –
shuffling our cards and smiling at the draw:
We keep the red fire and pass it on,
whirling and dancing from soul to soul
lift the handful of dice and play your role,
forging and reforging humanity from the sparks
and defying the world to fall.
Get angry, get warm, and never bow.
Never bow at all.

Against Metaphysics

Do not debase yourself – you are gold, and you know
you need only find the ones who will hold you as standard.
And see how we die, how we weren’t designed for this living;
or designed at all, apart from a certain sketching.
This earthly fact need not ashcut our hair with sorrow,
though of course it may do for a moment, a haunting phase:
learning the blood and the tears that rest in salvation
not dropped from above, in a white hot holy inferno
of passionate revenge. No, these great tears are ours
believer, as we bear up the world on our backs, and build
our commune here on earth, our only connection
where we tie our authority, where we decide on our lives.
Not alone; these golden souls around us glimmer
as we pile together in a vast open treasure of days:
supporting each other as water clings to cold water
thundering slow as a star, and frantic reshaping
it glints – over the falls and out into darkness;
this thunder is pure, this thunder is gold in its forging.
Our blood belongs too, born in a mythical foundation
of life in the dawning of sacred human electrics –
we do not need more, we only need thriving, and others
a group of bright people called wonders who help us our way
to shore up our breathing, our justifiable madness
at having to live in a world that we have made,
which teaches us we lack the spinning centre: We.
The people who beat the heart of humanity’s pace?
This is the horror, the shock and the shame of those
who project with intensity, blinding sovereign light
on the walls to blind us, this is why it takes time –
so learn we can float, calm on our backs in the sea
of a disc, on the back of four elephants, looming calm
on the back of a turtle, ponderous floating through space.
Glowing human structures support this crowing communion,
and yes there is violence, but here in the gaps inbetween,
which like air are so hard to avoid, and yet so hard to see
lie the softer gradients of all of the earthier pleasures –
a glass of water, a book, a handshake, a look in the eyes,
a cuddle, or more, at dawn, a song, a joke, or a poem,
a long conversation, a cry, and some faith in your friends.
Ask not for justification, for there is no need.
We are great enough. This you can believe.

Elegy Written on the National Express

i

To the rusted coach, hurling through country
the misted landscape shows itself brightly –
smoke silhouettes and industrial edifice
rest in the view, as rubble in grey dirt.
Awake but precarious, I’m whimmed by the heat
and I wore too much crap, brought too much ephemera
rummaging for a pen, in notice of others
whose christian voices, here and there pray.
The whispering waving of torque and hot rubber
the passing on centre and passing on right.
The carriage rolls hungry, wafting on the road
in the air of the country, musty and cold.
The air conditioner breathes, occasionally coughing
in this rhythmic trance, the traveller’s loan,
which purchases the journey, cheap.

ii

In the coach, dull head and hot at the feet;
a clash of environments, splitting the cabin
and the swinging spindles of a needle thin turbine
obscured by the copses that spatter the land.
Miniaturised trees, from the fog’s deep gradient,
resting on the morning, and hewn dirt roads
(the trace of the coming expansion) flow outwards
pre-empted by pylons, ancient statues
whose rest in the desert, long after we’ve gone:
Buffeted by cold wind and frost in the nighttime
snow slowly erasing the web of old tarmac
pitch-dark and frozen, but the national anthem
plays still over the land, a deathless anthem
turning the fascist strata, and rousing
the fragments of newspaper to stand.

iii

In the fast fading coach, windows sullied,
shadow eats the occupied roads of the world.
Ambience change brings me reeling, threatened
from dystopian daydreams, to Motor Way One.
The unending chance-driven swerve of the chassis
rends me and jolts in my head and my stomach
and lightly the inevitable sickness sets in,
waiting for the portent’s rain to begin.
Mechanical reproduction’s music marks
the passing of time; it’s all that does
despite the rolling windows, falling country
whose homogeneous peeling marks the whole…
Drowsing in the sullen surge I wait
and London waits for me, churning,
the City dark with mould.

The Cathect

We, all of us, have it.
This fear in the night, trembling
at the horizon of our life – waiting
to unfold from the world, unknown
up until the crystalline moment
when we die with surprise.

We, all of us, battle
to sleep with the knowledge:
our hearts, our stomachs, broken
by this sadness, our terror – alternating
which rise and fall with the tides of living:
a bird flashing in the quiet sun, then gone.

We, all of us, have the solution: embrace it.
When the darkness is whole and the feeling strong.
This pain is certain; learn to love it.
Smile in the blackness
at this strange elevation – it won’t be long.
Join in the chorus and chant of life
for it cannot destroy us, this fact that we die.