by Derek Turner
Deep in the tangle of the past
He dreams, and we sometimes dream of him –
Lying in anxiety of roots,
Dead seeds, and splatted fruits,
Waiting in the acid earth
For the blade that brings rebirth.
Rains rolled above his head
While he lay, blacked the tufts, greened them again,
Time-lapse regathered clouds assailed
And curlews almost pierced his veil
Their thin cries swirl like paint in water,
Corpse-lights show the place of slaughter.
Long-legged time – insect time
Skaters, boatmen, whirligigs
Danced across his private drain
While peat pickled and stained
His pallid flesh to leather beige,
Uniting with the Iron Age.
And so we see his grin again,
His blank stare across bog-blooms
Trembling in sun like that he’d seen
In the days before he came here –
Came here? – More like pushed and dragged
Rope-burned, half-choked, poleaxed
For reasons of state, cause, rite,
He relinquished his claim on the daylight,
Shuffled hour-long last minutes on foot
(Or bundled and bounced in a car-boot)
Last sight – he swears – last thought, “No chance!”
Ice moon, moss that squelched to distance.
Blent with the fragrant turf, sewn
Into the flag fabric, he warms homes
With reveries of buried sunlight
National lies still legend-bright –
Except one home, where a few remember
Fading, fated family member.
Rushes and reeds, marsh weeds
To bind the sod together –
Millennial torso in a museum
Gun salutes at an arboretum –
Volunteers fallen, or traitors shot –
Troubles will always be our lot.
Poem by DEREK TURNER, the former editor of QR
His website is at www.derek-turner.com