Lombardy Polars

I’m reading about how this wet April month
Has inspired the bluebell to burst out in effusion.
I think about the woods on Winter Hill
And the view across the winding river.

This depression deepens like a newly dug mineshaft
How deep are they dug into the earth?
Before the crop of darkness overwhelms
And the coal board closes it down.

Now you must be making a Sunday dinner
For friends from far and wide to descend on
While it pours with rain on Richmond Hill
And Canary Wharf tower hides in the clouds.

If I had the eye of a simple pigeon
Could I focus on the coming sunset?
Could I flap two wings and fly away?
With nothing in my heart but tranquility.

There is Carolyn with those Lombardy Poplars
Her little blue eyes looking you straight in the face
Standing by the seven stumps left by developers
Who do they think they are that they buy and uproot?

I am down amongst their agonised roots
Those roots are like a mother to me
A mother who can no longer smell nice
A mother who will grow no taller.

The sky draws me up and out
The last of my spirit dances there
Above the seven stumps of Lombardy Poplars
That are left for dead in Viaduct Street.

While Carolyn walks to the Reference Library
And in her Pennsylvanian accent asks for her books
Alone she asks for council records
As her eyes dig down into the foundations of government.

And Sean standing at his very own doorstep
Where a battle had raged for years
Over the names on his tenancy agreement
Finally won the right to stand there.

And Sean on his very own doorstep
How he kept the front door wide open that day
As if phantoms were there as his doorman
Looking down on the graveyard outside.

With his floor strewn with photocopies
That he highlighted in yellow ink
How serious he has become about their policies
That nearly made him homeless.

Then there’s Nick in his new flat
He’s got so many friends in to see him
Talking about music and films
And about his brother who breaks things.

While I walked across Weavers fields
Alone with just a crumb of truth in me
How I felt I was inside an ocean
Or with an ocean inside of me.

Bethnal Green 2000

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