Wednesday, 27 April 2011


We are burning, for all our graces,
Up, like the forests of which our hopes are timber. 

Fevered in a dream of growing 
Like a stem or root in some earth-pit 
Where poison only slowly seeps. 

Here, I, at the peak of my powers, prevaricate, 
Oscillate like an atom, undecided, 
Pour my few brief hours down the drain. 

Control is what we strive for, 
Binding days to their marching orders.

But who is captain of the calendar? 
That grid of numbers, our sheet of time, 
A shroud for futility. 

We are souls, blazing toward heaven, 
Deceived by ascension, as if progress 
Were an upward path. 

We might as well be stones diving from that same heaven 
To the earth, as much on fire as our rising ghosts. 

The trap is sprung shut, by our needs, appetite and greed, 
By which gnawing vices our wants are pricked. 

So ignition comes from our combustible hearts. 
Air and volatility combine with pressure 
So that a spark, the merest spark, explodes all pretensions, 
Harboured, of divinity, of potency, of God-like-ness. 

Here, in this room, and now, in a culmination 
Of longevity, I arc with electricity, unbridled. 

I am white heat, full of flame and fury, 
In aerosol, power releasing as never before. 

This, then, is fruition, maturity, an arc no less, 
Curved momentum, entropic, decaying, falling from height. 

We are burnt embers, clinker of our own demand, 
Like burnt-out woodland or harvested fields,
Where once plenty lived its moment 
Then was gone. 

We lit a fire to survive and believed that flame 
Would not consume us. 
Wrong, we shrivel, old meat on older bones, 
Till our fat returns to the land we once sucked at. 

Here, I puzzle at my human shape, 
Not recognising the man I am or was, 
Confusing truth with diatribe, 
Honesty with blunt instruments of speech. 

There, I am a bolt of insubstantial lightning: 
A bang in the air, voltage in an instant, 
Lost again while clouds rub shoulders with the rain. 

I, we, they, like lights, go out, descend into darkness, 
We suppose not; we suspect so. 

I, we, they, across the face of heaven or sky, 
Are going all the same, to blazes, 
For a nanosecond only do we think of glory.

© BH 2011 

Don't know where that one came from. I wrote in about fifty minutes. That's equivalent to Norman MacCaig's two fags.

Ah, I'm now probably visiting the planet of grumpy old men, and still learning how to deal with the human condition (which is some form of stress-related disorder, no doubt).