February 11th, 2004.
It was so admired that day, as any day, the
smell of personal incense in the rush to
Moorgate-to courts at Finsbury.
Central Line, behold. You stately Victorian-
fighting the character of faster models in Piccadilly
or the introspective Circle:
all arise with New Years honours.
But this day be sad, Northern Rialto, for a passenger
met you in the tunnel
impertinent, proud like Hector,
Standing erect with his briefcase/shield
to attend his first meeting.
Crush me with
bursts of French
at the ‘Markets’
before I run
to school plays.
Come closer still.
Unexpected, as Phil
to Phyllis, look
this once. And let
eyes speak: of places
on the bright
beaches we imagined.
siren pipes play to us.
Turning, we silently
make our way to
‘nine’ (or is it ‘seven’).
A time for action
past as your
train is announced.
Whether it was Xerxes’ chariots or Milton’s angels,
They both fell that day into a chasm of trumpets and street
At eight forty six, gourmet pizza (fresh),
citizens saved by the institutional quality of their cuisine.
So I walked into this empty quarter,
reached its highest point and felt a sense of the gods.
In this dream, I was joined by all the Presidents and
who had built enormous fortresses high up,
blind to the earth as I fell down into them-
an ordinary man from Pennsylvania up for a visit.
(Still the traffic moves and we shall rebuild in competition.)
Until the furious moment, it had been a case of Know/The/
a sidelong glance at old liberty
(as watcher at daybreak with Charlemagne, his horn about to
rush men and women to their doom in the passes
of flame and forget-me-nots).
But the meeting we attended that day was awkward,
Not borne of love but anger-
even some of the phrasing that Gettysburg addressed-
its words moving with great speed across a sky lit in italics
and its punctuation sudden, the force of one ton in shapes
afterwards of cloud versus shadow versus uninterrupted
Outside Trinity in darkness, I already heard pipes playing
not to relieve us but to honour the Union.
Basically we walked out of the blitz into a time
which was approximately or exactly twenty nine after ten,
thinking of home or adherence to a clear desk policy or
whether our disaster recovery program clicked.
After, our directors (Wall Street’s) sat quietly
in a hall reserved for the dispossessed, conceding first
that July’s board had not said enough. You see we were
covered in the dust of our friends leaving us with no hope:
making a temporary monument for them (and us).
These temples I wrote of earlier
(where winds and waves remember to obey the fallen)
now silenced as trucks crashed into the subway
we had named our last defence and all the eyes of America
could not devour in one sitting the sight of so many In
She had beautiful eyes and sat there, under the cypress.
It was evening and the bees played on the warm air
around her, carried by summer towards me.
In time, it was evening (also) and we witnessed
a coming in and a going out: Miranda, honoured.
At once, a foal walked unsteadily across,
sank to the ground-it was our meeting place,
the earth formed roughly but well.
I was her light, you know-in childhood, leapt forward
like a giant nearly swallowing her with laughter.
Afterwards, listened to you play music at a window,
keeping me still as the rain fell in two parts
that were recorded. In each was strength,
making me remember her name when we tired-
over a memory that was brown and soft,
in a tomb that could not speak of this.
Here I fell asleep.
In our descent from the hill
we encountered both dark and light.
Had journeyed hard,
into the wood.
A crack, that of pain,
though to warn others:
our instinct telling us
to go forward as to what stood in front
Swearing loyalty to the tree god,
we posted sentries,
while around us the air shook
with ancient noises,
mutinous ones from the deep.
Telling no-one, I wrote this
at the last hour of night,
doing so hurriedly
and without thought.
Finished, I put my ear
to the ground, heard a bell tower
summon demons to rest;
and before I could look again,
the sun warmed the cold grass on my face
and the earth upon my feet.
February 6th, 2004.
The following items to be covered: suffering,
Customer care, a good lunch.
On this site a hospital was founded for the insane,
‘I say Bert, didn’t you buy the first round?’
On the corner of Thread, two fellows set about
A messenger telling him –
‘Give up your dead, give up your dead’
He is of the sod it school of response and takes cover
In a culvert rather than Saint Clements.
An electronic signal makes a much better communicant
And sometime after, participants numbering three
Are made obsolete to satisfy
Customer care, to satisfy customer care.
A deacon preaches an unrestricted sermon on the
Steps of his church to the dollar and the mortgage-
The following morning, a thoughtful bishop makes a
Councilmen move in; plans are prepared for the laity
Who shall inherit not this earth but a public convenience.
Later some of the listeners clash with their secretaries
Outside Cannon Street.
‘We must get Jack, he’d look good in the Bank’
Jack, looking depressed, manages a triple somersault
Olympic perfection off The Monument
Declaring markets to be ‘spiritual not suffering’.
Financial lunching has outdone even
the English martyrs:
Knowing the people who preach under vaulted ceilings
About economics and recite poets long dead with names
Like the Honourable Julian Grenfell.
Suddenly, twenty fanatical commuters rush forward to the
Protesting about the state of English football-
Wine and bread are offered to press the case for greater
Democracy amidst the dimly lit sanctuaries.
As the meal ends, the chairman motions to thank his guests:
By majority voting, church number nineteen shall be
And on its site rise a new benefice as the millennium.