Saturday, 11 August 2012


Turned my sleep
Black and pungent.

I put my hands on a shovel
In a dream
To scrape and scoop
Gravel to the tar.

High on the bucket-seat
With levers and wheels
I steered my tar-barrel way
Along the hardcore bed
Where the new road runs.

I covered the land like a lover
Laid beside her grass edges while
Burning asphalt lit the stems.
I made my passion
Foretell ecstasy and motion.
My speed drew blindness
Over her laconic eyes,
Ran its no longer gentle hand
Into the darker places of her heart.

I, the roadman,
Pushed a long way into nowhere;
I cut the sod open
Broke the ground
Parted the earth herself
For others to ride into tomorrow
Like kings.

The smell of the air
The chemical smoke upon it
The clank of track
Of rack and pinion
Cloaked the nectar of plants.
The musk of decay
Gave up its ghost
And the wind drowned
In my machinery.

© BH 2012

A poem written in America but, to my mind, full of the road-mannies of my childhood. There is an overlaid sense of violation. Maybe I've been on too many freeways lately.

There's an illustrated version. Created December 2013. Here.

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