December – the sun so low and effortful
as to make morning feel as it
does to knackered, school-bound teenagers;
ice chipped from car windscreens.
The post dropping onto mats while moggies
scrap near shrubs and bushes,
breath like the wheeze of a just-boiled kettle.
Something about this is almost cinematic:
the way a chandelier of icicles
is twisted beneath a single hanging basket,
how the white van across
the road ticks over, though no one’s inside it.
Next door, the phone is ringing
as the paperboy slings his bulk of deliveries.
From office blocks to the M1’s trailing pile-ups
a million-and-one things are getting
done as each day gets up, works and nods off
in front of Newsnight or some novel.
This once, I think of the way I watched light
complicate the nearby brook,
winding out, as it does, through parks and woods
to a dust trail stalked by stags and wilderness.
Sat in a field that loomed beyond
Greystones I swear I felt the closest to alone,
witness to the sort of silence
that clears the mind as sheets of snow on grass;
a brief world of glass that came
apart at the mobile’s ringtone, a jet’s sudden thundering.
Buried in the four-storeys
of market-playing geniuses
or more often than not
in the mansions of the famous,
the panic room sits tight
till shadows grace the cameras.
Then its door’s swung shut,
with no way in and the fear
of climbing out; the heist
televised on its grainy monitor
as the landline clicks dead
and the lights begin to flicker.
[Ben Wilkinson’s poems have appeared in publications including Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Spectator, The Manhattan Review (USA) and the TLS. He works as a bookseller, reviewer, and as an editor for the Poetry Archive. His pamphlet of poems, The Sparks (tall lighthouse, 2008) was long-listed for the 2009 Eric Gregory Award.]
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