A nocturne in three distressed sonnets
it is the eye where as for this glaucous thing you did not look
at me so and look; because the bone and ash of the root
which raises the unremembered grass
like a piece of the human in the field
the people who do not desire have remembered perhaps
whether almost being, having been ashamed perhaps
the red light of pain reverses the stomach
which shines with pain of the window
exceeds the glitter of all promises in order to deceive the eye
– as for all this, all meanings of being here,
this is not what we mean, they are not here –
an observer of the fear can be deduced perhaps
but shiftless possibility of the mask decreases
the residual importance of the face
as for the blood of dream as seen in the dream mirror
the dream is cold; as for us in necessary marginal
profit of our one self is thought in doubt
concerning the world where it exceeds the story
which is knit because we hide to prove frame
of the reflection where the surface past night
chill of stare at the window is thin; as for us it was
there or anywhere at all; no blood, no blood
at the present surface which is painted
in the wall of night yet you hear the muscle
of your heart in moments of ritual rigorously compressed
the hallucination of image and the impression
continual truth at the time of ceremony
the words more important than the dream
whether I like it or not it is bound to happen
having the rumble threat daily increases
the snow remains lightly but the road is accurate
though curtailment of courses via the bents
is scattered with ash the sky I remember was softer blue
and the waterdrop in the olive drab leaf shines
now brassbound the curtains hang in heavy aspects
reading of old women and the smell of rivers will penetrate
city as the roar of tyres downward of street
that only live in memory the finalisation of cinemas
were a bitter blow – I miss the glad upward-illuminated nights
and it forbids now to leave the house until further –
at hazard to receive scattered edict
transacted by wireless pronouncings & bound of the tongue
And they buried him with his fathers in the field
What’s all this rancour about?
Life is too precious to keep long.
It is quite dark now & I stumble
at frequent intervals over the dead.
It is strange to be back in the city.
I am not sure the paving can be trusted.
In the church the flowers smell of polish & the candles
of foreign nights after rain.
I feel a peculiar appetite
for buying clothes. The streets are full of people
hawking personal possessions, their own
& other people’s bodies,
umbrella handles intricately carved from bones of saints,
fine relics filched from the catacombs.
Who bakes the stars dispatches idiots
to the limits of creed & credence,
our credentials merely all those things
that cannot be disbelieved. What next?
We sing our signs, subsist
for our own recreation
in narratives carefully controlled, constructed
to keep the gullible in thrall.
Call of the ram’s horn simulates bare fells,
wind & distance among these clustered streets.
[Aidan Semmens read of himself in Jacket magazine in 2002 that he 'has long given up writing poetry'. The extent to which that statement no longer holds is evidenced by subsequent work in Shearsman, Great Works, Shadowtrain, Stride, Jack and Jacket itself, and forthcoming from Free Verse. Aidan Semmens is a sports sub-editor for the News of the World.]
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