The seam runs through the field, beneath
The wall, beneath the house, beneath
The fear of darkness and of loss.
The seam is deep and rich and wide.
Around the Earth, throughout our time
The seam is dredged and scraped and blown.
The fires it lights explode the night.
The dressing floors are never still.
Beneath the moor the tunnelling spins,
Beneath the wilds made wilder still,
Beneath the need to feed the fires,
The need to feed the landlord’s will.
It merges, weights and drags us down,
Malformed we’re trapped: part beast, part god.
Up from the sickly flowers of lead –
Whose blueish petals pale and drooped
Are soaked in black and matted blood –
The horns of consecration rise.
A liminal state of recompense
For ancient slights in sacrifice:
A creature born to neither form
Is left to wander through the dark.
Galena glints and burns within.
The furnace tipped towards the south,
And molten metal flows through time:
The monster slips between two states.
The flowers are gathered up and crushed.
Amongst the mines a new bull reigns.
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.
The linnets gather on the ling
And watch the knitting party pass.
Another morning thick with dust,
The men and women click and cough.
The ponies start their circling trudge.
A pipit rises then is lost.
The children gather at the pit:
One spits his blood into the sedge.
And from within the moaning starts,
A roar so deep the slagheap shifts.
The children by the ladder shake.
The knitting party help them down.
Their sacrifice will never still
The Minotaur’s half-human lust.
Across its name are scattered stars
Which spiral round its buried heart,
And sear into its awful hide
The marks of its divided soul.
Its bellowed cries are heard for miles
Across the ruined moor-top mines
When twice a month the moon has horns,
And mocks the wreck which sobs beneath.
A hundred years they fed its lust
For sacrifice and poisoned blood,
Then left it trapped below the spoils
To howl as only monsters howl.
Although the stars which brand it shine,
Its fate is lived through buried shame.
They saw the beast and not the man,
Forever circling: hooves and feet.
And lowered down and round and deep
They heard the moans and not the grief.
They sucked the poisons from below,
The core of earth, the heart of rock,
The seams of endless, twisting stone.
They opened sluices, stoked the fires.
They built their world to last through time
On lungs of arsenic, fields of lead.
And in the galleries, banks and schools
They built their wall around the dead.
But now within the maze of mines,
The beast and man as one arise.