Saturday, 23 November 2013

Going for the Paper

Something from my (very) shortlived Marxist phase. I remember spending ages trying to write a poem about a factory chimney (a metaphor connecting the world of material with the world of mind/spirit - the sky) but it wasn't successful, largely because of the natural religious bent of my mind. The drafts have disappeared. I also remember being ordered out of the car of an International Socialists activist who was hoping to recruit me to the IS (forerunner of the ludicrous Socialist Workers Party) when I told him I was more interested in beauty than the rigours of Marxism. Happy days.


Early day: air like a raw, shot-blue wool
Scratches my face to plaster. Water cracks
Like plastic from a pipe; the pavement frost
Splinters. At the bread factory men pull
Shattering trolleys out to the van’s racks –
Where someone crackles past, brown as a ghost.

The housing estate is Leggo, its stages
Already lit and acted on. The sky
Swills like an inverted explosion, shuts
Down on the Ring Road where a Greenline pages
Custom; the whistling tunnel batters the eye.
From the harbour Behemoth humps his guts.

They’re building at the station. In the cage
Men crawl like snub-nosed worms, night-lights smoulder,
Festering in the belly. Not much to say,
Waiting to be shunted; someone flicks a page,
Someone spits, faces scoured and grey; it’s colder;
A shivering lad has clocked his thousandth day.

© circa 1973-76

Friday, 8 November 2013

Writing Poetry

Taken by chance from a surface,
Partial yet whole as a stone,
It nags, creeping aboard the flesh
Like a worrying stain.

The world curls up like a shadow,
The day dumps all it might bring,
And eyes stroll off at a tangent
With a pin in the brain.

But worst, and best, are the hours
Awake and aware of your spine,
When a perfect phrase disturbs you
Like a cold night-rain.

© circa 1973-76