Tag Archives: Hallowe’en

Post Hallowe’en

Have been a bit busy preparing a few stories for our Hallowe’en shindig at Badaguish, so a few new poems queuing waiting to be spruced up. Here’s the first in the line, which started life in a much shorter form in a birthday card for Annie back in September, a few days after the Referendum. The card was a rather spooky picture of a Provencal lavender field, which doesn’t come into the poem much except in the bit about the field being combed and braided. The bit about the oracle alludes to my favourite bit in The Matrix, or one of its successors (watch it, if you don’t know where I mean, watch them all, make a night of it).


An Organising Field 

A defeat, like any oracle
tells us what we need to hear.
We ask the question, get the answer
frequently incomprehensible
yet we assume it’s designed to help
us through our difficulties. Seldom
in our quest for convenience
do we notice what it’s really about:

A defeat, like any field,
or Alice’s mirror-garden
where you come back to the same
door each time you go
has different planes:
let’s call them plan
and elevation, map and pathway.
strategy and tactic.

Let’s walk its laid-out ways:
we see the bodies of unfortunate
young men who tried to kill
but had to die instead.
They lie very still, their faces pulled
in expressions we find unnatural
their bodies stretched in poses that recall
mime artists or dancers:

This is not somewhere where
we want to be. The oracle
is a fog we spin, composed
of our foolish hopes and false fears.
But if you glance up at
overhead the reconnaissance plane
and curse the coldhearted sods
to whom body is one thing only:

A thing to be bagged
bagged or counted but above all
an entity that no longer
takes direction from anyone,
will not follow the red line
with its shark-fin arrows
that curves across the chart from
briefing to objective, for all that

You would be doing it
a discourtesy: their cold eyes
are using that small black dot
receding over the horizon only
as a convenience, a filter
for their shortlived vision;
there is something else that pilots:
a mind it would not be wrong

to call truly objective, though
no mind you
could conceive of, walking through
the field of disaster,
one that exists in patterns
curves and arcs and the punctuations
of wave interference, maybe,
has set up an organising field

where our thoughts and hopes and fears
are looped among the hieroglyphs
of those forsaken bodies
and are not ours, any more
than they theirs; and when at length
they’re laid out straight
in lines along the ground
tagged and numbered

And somebody urges
let’s remember we’re professionals
it’s like a small salute
to the organising field
combing out and braiding
patterns made long since, where
we’re included too, by the oracle
we only invoked for our convenience.

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