Posts tagged ‘destruction’

20/06/2013

Jesenica – Aberdare – Iron – Coal – 1913

 

The garlands of narcissi shone,

Amongst the regiments of steel.

From orange dust, in which they coughed:

Came building’s load, and railroad.

 

Just like the metal there was coal,

Which clogged the lungs, and coated souls,

And saturated hems and hopes

Of every waiting valley girl.

 

And from the margins built the calls,

Along the tunnels, from the slag,

Around the coke and winding sheds:

They sung the gallows, whispered war.

 

The patterns of despair were set

Across a Europe drowned in sweat.

 

 

12/05/2013

The Barmanou

 

 

They shook the mountain caves at night,

They broke the boulders, cracked the cliffs,

They mocked the flags on sunrise snow,

They howled around the prayer wheels.

 

Then far beyond the mountain’s pull

A gentle chant, the plateaux’s thought,

Was caught in clouds and spiralled up

To join the Karakoram’s breath.

 

They stopped a while to hear the chant,

Put down their knives of Yengisar.

Then, furrow-browed, they went on back

To breaking wilderness and peace.

 

For all their noise, they heard the change:

They sensed the myths had rearranged.

 

05/04/2013

Slender Billed Curlew

 

1.  They Never Do

 

In times of plenty birds would fill

The steppe-lands with their songs of spring.

Their wild and wondrous calls and cries:

Beyond the earth, they kissed the skies.

 

In times of plenty forest swamps

Would swell migration paths with wings

Across the plains and over seas,

And no one saw them as they passed.

 

In times of plenty people gorged,

Their noses closer to their floors.

They fought their wars and built their roads.

Their eyes were shut, their ears were closed.

 

And bit by bit the calling stopped:

The spring would come, the songs would not.

 

 

2.  Just One More Shot, The Final Breath

 

Retreating further through the swamps

And pine and permafrosts, alone

The hunter carves his name in bark.

A curlew calls its final dawn.

 

This stand of stumps and frozen breath

Was chosen by the spring and stars.

This place, this time, this pointless task:

Unknowing breath of man, of bird.

 

It probes its beak through frozen crust,

Its left foot quivers, head pulls back.

These movements formed in ancient times:

The last this world will ever know.

 

The hunter picks his kill and leaves

A precious feather to the breeze.

 

 

3.    Spirit Birds of Amvrakikos Gulf

 

Along the shore where the egrets pick

A flock of shadow waders roost.

The echoes of their silent calls

Are heard as ghosts amongst the stars.

 

But if you look you’ll never see

Again the birds, or hear their calls –

And no-one ever really did.

Their phantoms hug the water’s edge.

 

Your eyes have seen the taiga’s ice.

Your eyes have seen the dismal swamp.

Your eyes have seen extinction’s wing.

The curlew’s calls are deep within.

 

Their souls migrate across the gulf:

The shadow birds have lost their way.

 

 

 

08/12/2012

Free Trade (Lothersdale Lead Mine)

 

The scar remains, two centuries on:

A sterile field, a poisoned rock.

The dust in summer, streams in spring,

Still thick with arsenic, lead and zinc.

 

A hundred families mined the ore,

They scraped their living coughing blood.

Salvation came in crusts of bread

And praying for the skylark’s song.

 

But far away the freedom flowed,

And wealth and light and flowers bloomed.

In silk and satin, trade and faith,

The spirit of the age was writ.

 

So hollow are those words of joy

When carved in stone on children’s graves.

14/11/2012

The Garden of the House of Pindar

 

Within the wall a redstart crouched.

It cocked its head, it stretched its wing.

This place would do: it settled in

To pass the night alone and cold.

 

Around the garden torches spat,

At moths unused to earthly moons.

To lunar flames they offered gifts.

The goddess, grateful, took their wings.

 

The garden bloomed as every year.

Its evening peace and perfumes seeped,

Beyond the walls with sleeping birds,

Across the jumbled piles of rock,

 

And on it spread above the bones,

And through the wrecks and shells of homes.

08/05/2012

The Empire of the Minotaur

 

They built the halls and weighing rooms

Of millstone grit and avarice.

They birthed the monster, fed its spite,

Then hid it deep beneath the moors

 

The maze they dug stretched out for miles,

To Yorkshire mills and cotton fields,

To sugar cane and gold and slaves,

Through merchant men and ship-o-line.

 

And soon there lurked beneath it all

The monster’s barely human form:

The towns and cities bent in smoke,

The fenced and drained, the turned and choked.

 

Beneath the art the bullets forged,

Beneath the war the moneyed hoard.