Tag Archives: History

Cairn

Time began when we discovered death,

stopped leaving lost ones to be

stripped bare by nature on

barren savannahs but

hid them instead and began

wondering what became of them.

 

Did they remember where they were,

the dead? Count Moons between the

cycle of food sources? But where in a

bare landscape could a

scraped grave be marked but with a

stick or a stone.

 

Maybe on their travels some

special stone caught the eye, was

kept and carried, treasured, laid on that

suddenly recognized place which,

repeated year on year became the

cairn of all our religions.

Utopia

Twin helicopters hover

over the demo but

other than that it’s the

same demo their

predecessors flocked to,

demanding utopia,

conveniently forgetting

all those they entombed in the

wrong utopia.

A New Sky

New things destroy old, new

peoples push past, herd those

unkilled into corners, behind

mountains or walls where they live in

marginal lands, praying they remain

marginal.

 

As on Earth, so in Heaven: the

stars swept from Sumer, Babylon, Attica,

Rome, the Arab Lands, cower in the

ultimate margin, waiting for the

assault of us modern folk on their

last shred of dignity, when

 

The Plough will be beaten into The

Shopping Trolley; Orion retrained as The

Security Guard, his billy-club swinging

uselessly on his over-laden belt;

Cancer multiplied into The Crabs,

infesting poor Virgo, now just

The MILF, while nearby The

Tom who was Leo scratches for fleas.

 

Carthago delenda est, and all things

must pass but I hope that somewhere

out beyond The Water Feature, under the

Big W (no doubt TM), and

buried in the great blastoma of the

Milky Way, a small star clutches its

angular, unpronounceable Arabic name in its

fiery heart.

The Twentieth Century in a Pub

When all was said and done, the

corpse-candles burnt out and their

greasy puddles, their

smeared existence, scrapped from

calvaries and cenotaphs leaving them

pristine and exiguous and somehow

forgotten, I suppose I shouldn’t be so

outraged by that cap-badge, the

hammer and sickle aslant within a

five-pointed star, but

dead people by their millions keep

nudging my arm, shaking my resolve and

spilling my beer.

The Great Chain at Seacombe Ferry

When the river dropped you could see it,
each link as big as my torso,
seaweedy, dripping, disappearing into the
Mersey’s muddy mouth,
whose depth its length revealed as I
dwelt on my inability to swim,
like all mariners, or mariners’ sons,
scared of so much water.

And I thought of that greater chain,
dredged by sweating slaves to stopper
the Golden Horn when strange sails
smattered the horizon.
What it kept out it also kept in, but Hardrada,
tired of the Varangian life, craved
green seas again, and a crown, but his
stolen ship stuck on the chain, teetered—
at the stern swung a sword
slippery with his blood in a gawping square,
at the prow the Black Sea, Kievan Rus, home,
a throne, descent on England, so
he and his men thrust down with their weight
and rushed towards Stamford Bridge,
scraping off the chain and onto the
heft of a Saxon axe.

My mobile murmured a message,
“My sweet, come home. M” as a
ferry bumped the pier, its wash a mix of
Mersey filth, brown Bosphorus, North Sea, whilst I

shivered, like you when I kiss your
neck with its gold chain,
each link as big as my heart,
in length its depth revealed.

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