The sky doesn’t laugh anymore,
But folds autumnal and crisp in our palms,
Papery and fish-bone thin;
Its brittle horizon safer in copper resign,
As we ice things, sober on chalk,
All holes, friction and discontent,
Hedge our clouds in a tumorous fashion -
A windless artillery against this stale skyline
Of hopelessness and self-consumption.
We haven’t always sold our steam in rusted boats,
Landlocked in algal waters as brined mist corrodes our cobbled past.
We once feasted on charcoal, rain, and the maimed chime
Of Big Ben dressed in his best oily philosophy,
Breaking atoms along the ley lines with dirty feet
And a wooden conscience. But now we drift,
Surrendering to the wars in shadows
That breathe heavily on our starving eyes
And slurp at the metal we sold our names for.
The Earth has forgotten us. It lives on its knees,
Feral and drugged, suspicious of our hands,
And the birds are nestless,
They fly like rocks, overloaded in submission and
Judging in their applause. Though I will not feed them.
Not now, as we stand on the brink of Land’s End,
Ensconced in the melodrama of solidity,
Our discoloured empire draped in the sighs
Of a collapsing moon that has long since regretted us,
Violent and incoherent as we cut its hair at night.
“You have to smile”, they said, it makes it easier;
Though you can’t love in bone, and the hollow beaks
Growing between our footprints threaten to unsettle
Our instability. We must embrace the tragedy of silence,
Grab it by its tail, and pin it to the naked masts,
Wash our rags in the bones of blue,
And swallow the coal-bred depression
Foaming in the dreams of the altar-less monks
Who fought so long for the nothingness we call our own.
No, no. The sky doesn’t laugh anymore,
And for that I am glad.
I fear a laugh would shatter our delicate state of
Piecemeal rebellion and earthy resentment;
I fear a laugh would undermine our alloyed sanctity,
And know too well how the stars became diseased
All lonely in the closed mouth of day;
And I fear a laugh would break the cold solidity we cling to,
Mollusc-like and babe-handed.
Though to break,
Could be a fine thing this undying night.
It's been nearly a year since my last, so thought I'd finish this piece which I started quite some time ago and left. The brilliant picture is called "element of the sea" by Vadim Trunov, who has many great pictures here: http://www.outdoor-photos.com/photographer/273965/. (copyright subsists in him).