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And they spoke the word, Ashafine By Daniel Crockett


Bruin the midnight dancer See-saw Bruin boy, best and bravest, gunner, joy Take-tact and alibi, mix and match, riff, try Pit-pat Bruin best, silent sleeper, darling, rest Hey-ho and muckle down, giant grin, silent, drown Derring-do Bruin burn, play prince, hum, yearn Qui-quo and Appleby, open orders, turn, flee Lip-latch Bruin break, hip hurl, stone, make El-eras and plutocrats, run run, forest, flats

Dodo Dodo took the downward slope, ‘tween the pillars of time and hope Danced on down that dodo did, in the flames and flares she hid Wedlock called dodo away, she returned twice as whispers fey Appearing just as dodo could, whippet-thin from lack of food Upturned face beseeching more, scuttling from door to door The wicked dodo ran amok, made new friends with borrowed luck Quested forward leaping glee, that dodo managed to get free And buried her companions, on roadsides and in canyons In shallow graves a-scrapen, that dodo laid her brethren And onward muckled onward, old el dodo she be gone


Fields of fallen glory I came across an old man, wizened skin and liver-spot hand Extended in still vice-like grip, hat raised in a jaunty tip At passing shadow of men alike, held to Skipper, Jack and Mike Whose names are now but story, on the fields of fallen glory I met a stillborn baby boy, eyes frozen in permanent joy Fixed on the distant couldabeens, interrupted before even seen For a parent fell out here, amongst the thunderclaps of fear Became nothing but a story, on the fields of fallen glory I happened upon a frightened child, face a rictus, eyes wild Sent to die out here alone, amidst the fire, bullets, groans Petrified in a shallow scrape, end of his life deemed by fate To drift forever as a story, on the fields of fallen glory

Eulogy Heretics mourned the passing dais Soured their tongues with fallow dirt Prostrated bodies bowed to pray Drenched from sock to scarf to shirt Tossed themselves in roadside hollows Torn by briars’ needle sharp Such the price of those that follow The Dais’ light burden maketh marks All day the procession gathered speed Roadsides lined with keening calls Thrown coins divorcing greed And in the deathly sun it falls And from its abyss nothing rolls And empty the Dais lies, and broken Onlookers collect the unpaid tolls From the midst two words come spoken Championed in mighty chants He Lives, He Lives, he lives, they cry And through the streets they dance


Jazz Gnu Gnu chewed Blue tunes Spat out His own groove Jazz monk Jazz gnu Dainty pointed Hoof inta Glass slipper Rolled out Walking beat Grooving Beast Jazz Gnu First Gnu Number one Emperor Gnu Rhythm true Naturally blue Super Gnu Jazz Gnu That’s you

Layer

Layer up on layer


Light Dark so dense Licks at the light Startling it Pressing at its heels Speaking ugly words Advancing


Oxblood Shawl Smother me in that glorious shawl so it chokes the light and drowns the pallid echoes and reflections that race around my head Stuff the shawl into my mouth so fraying lungs will push and push the vestiges of breath out, and you might all think me dead Tie the shawl and lower my body from your window ledge to the street below: stop the traffic and quench the flow Use the shawl to swing back and forth in pendulous motion that threatens to carry me away from your relentless glow Gather me in the perfect shawl so it shields my eyes and encases my head in a glorious funk and let me forget for a second more Swaddle me in an oxblood shawl so it protects my skin and lets me call your beauty beauty and nothing more

Partook in sweating viper-dance On ashen hills with laden air Whilst in valleys other dancers Stirred and seeded, seeded, stirred As compatriots tongued in halls Under beams of green oak Ancient wolfen profiles mouthed Plotted and planned, plotted, planned


Poem for Derek Hynd One for Hynd here, confronting fear, walking tunnels alone Soaring high lines, calming his loud mind, secret savagely blown Hynd’s limbs chattering, threading needle eyes, delicately weaving Another tapestry, the lightest application, dark softly breathing Hynd breached boundaries, barely got a mention, behind his own pen Drifting high-line dancer, esoteric soothsayer, time pay him again Hynd ball-like projecting, quietly influential, looking back tha maw Looming and engulfing, ponders evolution, puts pedal up to soar Hynd smelled futility, in the face of tragedy, fought against the mass All things of glory, staggering in their beauty, despoiled by the crass


Road song - Verse 1 Under cliffs rejoiced and ducked Spanish lips and Catalan fists Black eyes, black eyes and backlit eyes Scrambled cliffs and spat bad Basque Walked across fire and slipped into Forgotten villages with uncommon vistas Danced on street corners and squares Ate squid once, tiptoed, smoked Got scraped by Noah’s leathery hide And bounced on rocks, sand and grass Lightning lit Cane toad faces up-turned Crushed by velvet tyres in the night Smelled roadside sugarcane fires Held hands with glory, fate, chance Whilst Wallaby eyes glittered, ageless In palaces lost hours and spent Brain cells on exquisite Mexicans Chewed Betel-nut miles from home Made friends with gabba fans and Dodged dumped asylum patients Left to die in the hazy light Whilst outside iguanas were stoned By less than rational thoughts Met heroes and realised zeroes Crested miles in laden Mercedes Laughed with Scottish farmers Drunk tequila with German schoolgirls Fanned phosphorescence in Mandalas Kicking splendid ripples on the stroke Composed polemic verses and discarded Dreams again and again and again

Smelled the west and its direction Got lost, got lost, got lost again Saw car-long catfish drying in sunlight Dwarfen bears and wolves in cages Wiped myself with the pages of novels Became Soviet water-child Staggering beauty alongside danger And trusted vagabond peasants with Mouths of blackened gold Conjured peace and otters at St. Farnans Heard shrikes and ptarmigans call Propped up Soho bars and paced Streets in the morning, whilst suitWearing men went about their chores Ate Borges, Hesse and James Spoke at length with unshaven prophets Forecasting doom and spattered blood Onto porcelain tiles in dancing heels Swore at the future, swore at the past Streaked across serene plateaus Clutch head in hands for days on end Dilated pupils in Bristol squats Realised the futility of chemical love Bought temple balls in Nepali alleys Saw burning flesh on funeral pyres Voted liberal in a crumbling church Silenced by stained glass sculptures Mirth on the faces of poets and preachers Forged connections in moonlit water Got lost, got lost, got found again Road sung, back on the march


Tore Traipsed gum-trodden pavements under gun-grey skies Sheet metal water calling at the heels of bridges Beneath the left right of gentle footfall Busted smiling at the freezing dawn Black-ringed panda eyes Drop a single tear That tears Tore

Timid Laughed out loud on sunken streets Crazy, chased through crumbling buildings Siempre Tango, miel, miel Calling names of lovers lost Frenzied groove in deserted buildings Burning down traditions in a Blur of frantic footsteps Goose-stepping across the cobbled plaza Past the submerged church Where the bell still sounds on a rising tide


Warden Black Warden Black stands watching; you know what’s in his mind He wants to burn the sun: he wants to turn you blind Warden Black stands glaring; you know what he can see Around your hidden corners; no matter where you flee Warden Black steps downwards; you know he’s on his way Through the gates of misery; down, down, down away Warden Black once stood here; what he searched for no one knows And in his place a scarlet flower; springing up now grows

Ashafine Ashafine the prophet, her gilded tongue on fire Licks the velvet ashes, from the funeral pyre Ashafine the giantess, samphire in her hair Sapphires at her neck, dancing with our care Ashafine the mistress, violence in her gait Toys with liberty she does, dances against fate Ashafine the vaunted, madness in her talk Kill you dead by staring, stop you in your walk Ashafine the mystic, enchanted sacred flesh Visits with a promise, leaves you in a mess Ashafine the murderess, eyes like leaden balls Builds another spire, grace tumbling falls From grace, tumbling, falls.

Ashafine  

2007 poetry

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