Monday, 15 August 2011
Fire is plasma scorching the underside
Of TV screens, safety glass closed between
Voyeurs, working themselves to a climax
Of indignation and no little fear,
And no little guilt, and the performers
Who could be poets such is their total
Self absorption, poets etching malice
On shop windows with subtleties of bricks,
Imprinting their audacious images
Of petrol bombs on dull, regulation
Riot shields. Ultimately, though, looting
Is itself just masturbation, driven
By cravings satisfied in the moment,
Ejaculations of pent up anger,
Of bravado, spilling over pavements,
Over concrete, seed broadcast on stony ground.
Then the lethargy, the recognition
That frustration has only been appeased.
Meanwhile, the moral free market speculates,
There’s profit to be had from destruction.
Ministers compete in denouncing sin,
Intending to bolster their plunging stock,
To deflect attention from kith and kin
Who are culpable of looting pensions,
Imputable for taking all credit
For themselves, complicit in the wanton
Destruction of impoverished nations.
On the odd night cities mostly smouldered,
Financiers mugged whole economies,
Running riot in the City, police
Powerless to act while society
Chose only stand back and watch, hoping
Not to be burned as the great grandchildren
Of the Iron Lady took what they wanted
For themselves alone and in doing so
Drew her to her natural conclusion.
I like the rain in summer
When the grass is resurrected
The trees shimmer with delight
The pavements smile…
And people run for the heaven of it –
Lust unleashed, damp igniting passions void below
The smell of summer is concentrated
In lethal doses of joy.
The cricketers scurry,
Lovers hide one another
Flowers laden with life suck up summer’s juices
Life rushes on.
Black earth rich as treacle
Farmers smile –
The cows are not amused.
But I sing and sing and sing.
The Violent Suburb
In this road, “within easy reach of the city”,
Where the birds are screwed to the sky
And the air stings like an overripe peach,
The long, slow memory of violence
Coats the doors with a hard gloss.
Why should we wish people to live otherwise?
We all need out womb sooner or later,
Somewhere to gather the fragments of our lives,
When outside only drags us apart.
Yet the warm air nudges, whispers:
“See the houses, regular and modern,
Arranged like cornflakes packets
Along the tidy street.”
“See this man, bent with years of toil;
No white-collar worker he;
Unions have fought for his rights,
He has worked hard and honestly.
How can we grudge him his earthly reward?”
But the heat stings like an Indian dungfly,
And its ticking is loud in my ears:
“See the nations, how they rise,
The mythology of might growing in each,
The surgeons skilled in healing the war-wounded,
Each country surrounded by a deadly transparent wall.
Its diplomats primed
To give away nothing,
To boost their own interests…
See the nations, regular and neat,
Each soul protected like a cornflake.”
And what danger remains in the wild, wild wood,
Now that we’ve chopped in all down, all down,
Now that we’ve chopped it all down?
Thursday, 4 August 2011
STAR OVER LINDISFARNE
Winking down the rolling vertigo of sky,
Here I am, alone,
With nothing between us but the pulsating void of night.
Beneath the naked sky,
I have come to you.
Washed by waves of night,
Encircled by the heaving purple sea,
Bathed in spangled night-brightness across the jagged dunes
I have come,
And you don't care.
My eyes burn in the night wind;
My heart burns -
And you, cold star, inanimate,
Need no love.
Yet you and I are intimate.
The great black castle lurches behind me,
Heaving, eerie, into the sky,
As if to weigh me to the Earth.
But you, star,
You and I are pulled together.
Forever apart, we hurtle through the Universe.
You and I are intimate.
What did you look at Cuthbert
On your island?
Did you marvel at the colours
in the rock pool?
Pink sea anemonies
And white coral weed
Or were your eyes
On the clear horizons?
This enormous vista of space
Accentuated by rocks - far distant,
The Whin Sill cropping up
And out to sea.
The Farnes formed one behind the other,
Frozen whales, flat triangles of obdurate faith
Against the sea.
And were you aware of
The emotions of the Universe
As it pulled the bay free of water
Or flooded the mudflats,
The fluctuations of powers
Beyond your control?
And did you walk
The tenuous path to the mainland
When it was water free
And contact your fellows
And were you burnt by them?
What sent you back to your cell
Of all sensory stimulation
To see beyond the scene?
Something is burning inside me;
you could call it my heart
but it's much more precise than that, it's a bonfire;
crackling sticks of shy words.
Crossing the country last week,
I saw them,
jumbled up heaps of poems
rioting bundles of wood,
alone in October-dry fields.
Tonight, sitting here,
with only you in my eyes,
dazed by the intense glare, I devise
a scheme to link bonfires across the land,
to burn down the walls between our hands,
if only to set your face alight,
if only to see one Guy Fawkes Day
your dreamy children smile.
THE SEA IS WASHING SALT UPON YOUR SKIN
Wanting you, coast to coast, I have desired
To capture carefully the secret of mould
From those who thought they could teach me how to love
With flesh-hooks of teeth, and to store one's gold
Like rarely seen pearls of the dawn and frost.
Gone from the maps of your skin I cannot go far
From what I have already lost;
Lately when we have parted I wanted to scar
Your memory with my decay, rust,
And ruin, to tell you to your face
I wait beside death for your return.
you let them breed upon your style and grace
Deceiving your heart with their flesh and lies,
And caring nothing for what is within -
Evenings bring the gentle blue from your eyes,
The sea is washing salt upon your skin.
MELANIE J. TAYLOR