No 10 - July 2007
Between Aughton Park and Maghull
I read the fields,
fading blond in summer’s final shining stand - except
today there is only soft grey drizzle.
Long-legged silhouettes spell horses
bleeding into the grass that bore them.
Leaves breathe the moisture,
their burgeoning sustained a few more heady weeks
until the frost renders them hieroglyphs.
We pass a field already harvested,
the dark soil broken into chocolate-splintered chunks
My mouth waters at the thought of its soft yielding
touch, the smell of its fruitful decay released
as my weight intrudes upon its
The train gains speed, fine flecks of rain elongate, dash
the windows with tiny opaque prisms.
Vulgar colours run through the meadows.
A rabble of ragwort and fireweed blazes
over industrial ruins.
And there is our church.
Dark and hungry by the silver waters, its blackened rafters
still gaunt against a lowering sky.
With crumbling roof and smashed windows, its emaciated form fed our
imaginations, gave us succour.
My god, my god, why have you forsaken us?
In our pain we turned to this starving carcass, as spurned and neglected as
And oh! the sweetness of our yearning,
worthy of our
God, in your absence we made our own graven images, blasphemous idols
lovingly crafted with our flesh and our anguish.
The vision scalds me still. Our church, windows lit with scarlet flames,
unconsumed by holy fire. Entering the chest cavity, I knew the building
breathed, heard it sigh, felt the warmth, smelled the sharp-sweet incense of
its breath. All was dark and golden.
My idol, where were you?
You did not give yourself away.
You moved when I did, kept the rhythm of my breath.
I walked towards the altar, wrapped in the echo of my footfalls.
An image of white down filled my head.
I had to touch it.
And as my heathen hand reached out
became a thousand doves
who flew with softly-beating wings
into the unfathomable blackness.
The noise must have startled you, for all at once I felt your presence. I
think I felt you touch me lightly on the shoulder, or perhaps I felt you wish
to touch me lightly on the shoulder.
I could not turn to face you
- I did not know what you looked like -
you could have been anyone,
I was compelled to love you from a distance. The air became solid, took
the form of spiralling stairs.
So I ran,
round and round and
up and up until I was standing on the flaming rafters,
begging the Heavens to take on
But long after you had to go, I cherished the ghost of our church silently
through an endless night.
The train plunges underground
and there is only my face in the travel-worn glass.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The