Saturday, 12 March 2016

The signs along the road

There’s something awry.
I’m coughing more than usual
and undergrowth leaf edges
are pale with blight. It’s spring
over half the continent
but shifting patterns deliver
cloudbanks only
and cold hard fronts.
We’re watching pictures
of chapped fingers hooked
through steel lattice,
unfurling rolls of wire,
some kind of bodying forth
at a convenient distance.
Or misplacing them back
into memories we’d thought
were past their sell-by date.

There’s something awry.
On flat plasma screens
tomorrow's forgotten articulate
stories that will be there
to be unearthed in future times.
For the moment, the hot air condenses
over lecterns, in passport offices,
across the lens of a camera.

Over woods that embroider
the foreshortened horizon,
buzzards or some other birds of prey
circle like lonely wolves.
Someone has spent half a day
putting up a sign to warn
of an underground infiltration tank.
There’s something awry.

Tom Phillips

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