Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Urban Safari

I well recall walking home one night across a shabby part of London (doesn't every city have its shabby parts the tourists are steered away from?) and being captivated by a sense of  Gothic; poetry, romance, and a curious sense of fatalism.....


None but shuddering stones haunting
dead lawns…

Stretching from mossy rails
to graffiti trails
on silent factory walls
hear the Traveller
call for aid to ease
the burden Time has laid
on back and breast

No thought of rest, not here,
where occasional dock leaves conspire
a gentler ground
than makes this gravel sound
like another massacre…
On, on, playful night! Shedding favours
left and right,
teasing the Traveller’s jaded sight.
Glimpse, a tiger’s smile
where a pile of flowery wire flickers
like a far forest fire; city lights
beyond mass graves of missing people
plucked from welfare queues
and left to fend  without a friend
for years, their ghosts not far behind
as panic rears

Neon daubs, for stars and a generation
of paper tigers

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2014

[Note: Revised (2013) from an earlier version that first appeared in an anthology, Shadows in a Mist, Anchor Books (Forward Press) 1999 and subsequently in Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; revised edition in e-format in preparation.]

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