Long blue and yellow thread snakes its way into the city.
Twisting distant train. It swallowed five hundred life stories this morning.
Now, softly freewheeling, humming downhill.
Round a gentle bend with satisfied rackety rhythm on sharp grey gravel. Winding downhill to the city it comes
to desks and telephones, heart attacks and lunch breaks.
guided by inevitable rails.
Out under the deep blue morning
stalks silence sinister; his last stand in widening skies
The escalator trundles
top to bottom folding on itself and reappears to slide
from top to bottom under London.
Grey flat low-lying London looks without seeing –
generates its seething with the light weary morning.
Electric flashes in the sky at dawn
cover the purple with terrifying energy and sizzle a fanfare
for a sleek and silver blackly slipping train.
This evening I set the local reservoir on fire.
It flared behind me from a cigarette I’d thrown away.
I did it in a dinner jacket to allay suspicion.
This evening I watched a squadron of flying ducks cross the moon,
their necks extended to sear the cutting wind. They passed
the moon like clouds adrift with purpose.
This evening I watched a gathering
of blustery trees toss their protest at human forms
that flitted at their captive roots.
This evening I wished for death and life beyond. I faltered
in my footsteps, stood and waited while a diesel train went by
alight with a score of windows with a figure looking out.
I waited in the East-blue steel sky amid a razor gale, my hair
snatched off my scalp with frozen blasts, and wondered how
the blistering earth could bear this evening. It was a tour of majesty
to watch protrusions from this planet withstand this evening.
FLINT AND BRICK, WITH MOSS.
Well, there it is, sticking up out of the ground: part of a wall.
It didn’t look so special when there was more of it –
before the bulldozers moved in – when Mrs. Pendleton was living here
after her son went off to new Zealand taking everything she had.
Her front door looked out across the fields instead of whatever that is –
(offices or something I suppose – to do with local government).
Mrs. P’s place was put up in the middle eighteen-hundreds; the moss
was a later addition. I don’t know why I should be sentimental –
none of this means anything to me – except that when you’ve lived
inside four walls they must contain your ghost.
And when the demolition people come along, they let it out.
Tear a tight veil from my eyes. Move in.
Morning makes a new thing out of an old body.
Judgment that was twisted makes light thinking.
I take note of what you say old chap. Move in.
Make me measure your emotions
or let me sleep.
Look a lousy look at leering lechers. Move in.
Or get that bum out of my face
so I can do the crossword.
is an argument
you haven’t lost.
WHAT TO THINK.
If it pleases you
you can think freely,
you’re free to think so.
DOWN THE LINE.
Looking down the line,
in the sunlight.
Meeting at the line
where the sky
meets the snow-line.
Down the line
Thinking of the time
when the line stretched
away before me.
FEAR OF THE DARK.
Some nights the stillness screams and disturbs
the fear of darkness that unfolds from sightless hollows.
Shapeless areas as black as forever come to life
unseen but only felt.
Under the stars square concrete – splashed the opposite
of dark, not white – stands guard along the street.
Perched on the outermost crust of a frantic ball,
the city looks secure.
But from the cool hard road forever upward
starts the nothingness. Between the upturned face
and the powdering of stars is nothing.
Always will be, always was.
To protect us from infinity.
In a while I’ll put myself to bed and think
about the world I’ve left behind
to shut out rush and hurry; make a lump
of blankets, breathing deep
and nasally commit myself to sleep.
And while I’m snoring, someone, somewhere else
will curse the raucous jangle of his clock
and stretch a heavy limb; drag deeply wrinkled body
from his bed and wish
that something functioned in his head.
But which of us is happier I wonder. While I
must force myself to close my mind our friend
is slowly waking… and realising how much
he loves his rest, while I’m still wishing
I were up and dressed.