where to look I turned
in the room

and the sky turned
and the white statue

uncertain what to say
I stopped
at the foot of the stair

we have not yet discussed the wind, without which the sailor
would not go anywhere

the wind, that snatches and rips at the rigging, that whistles
through it like an angry ghost
or stronger, removing roofs, smashing ships against breakwaters,
ripping up fences, bringing down neighbourhoods

coming with a bank of clouds from the south, breaking rudders,
flinging boats about the harbour, a pilot’s nightmare


sometimes the wind is kind
honey scents
old cigarettes

windless cold, hoarfrost gathering on the trees, air solid, breath
that cuts and blows out solid, the creaking of the ice, the minute almost
silent creaking, white nights

cold England sleeping

footsteps down alleyways in the fog, sleet falling outside the big shop
full of giant Lego sets, plastic and metal wonders, miniature cities

freezing in the subway, young mums on the run, hiding from
suburbia in museums among blue chinese vases, drinking whisky in the
cafeteria with young sons while outside it is getting colder and colder

subzero disaster
blowing through limbo faster and faster
watching life torn
from my hands
gaping fingers
closing on nothing
the wind blows the sail to rags

your touch was light
sun on glasshouses
silver trees
eyes like ferns
the lily at the centre of the maze

Arthur William lay finally and with relief on his back. Faintly the
noise of smashing fled from his head. He did not hear his mates departing.
He lay as if dead. He did not hear the police coming. He lay snoring
drunk in the middle of a chemist shop that had just been broken into,
with empty hands. Arthur William, newly wed, soldier, scholar,
courtier, artist’s eye and hand, got sent down again, to Spanish lessons,
breathing exercises, watching the seasons pass over the walls, summer,
autumn, winter, spring blowing across the sky, sign language as he
looks up with clear heart and eye

He writes a warm letter, he draws a fiery picture, a dark
explosion, a spray of wind blown colour over tiny mirrors of the huge
battles in the mind of Albion, struggling to rise

pale painter’s eyes
red-bearded woodland creature, old brown clothes, melting in and
out of forests
bike rider, grease-embossed terror of the road
hands that shape an evening or stroke an arm of push a needle
or hold a pen or play a guitar

the price we pay
they have locked you away

why do they lay
so many hands on him
why do they make
so many demands of him
why do they try
to strangle the life inside him
why do they tear
paint and paper away from him

roll him under cars
load him up with fines
drown him on an oil rig
choke him in a paint shop
bury him in the mines?

England you are a vile old Victoria
devouring your own sons
an evil grin with a crown
mocking the daughters of Albion
as they wait in the rain
outside your gaols

you have fenced off your forests
for partridges
men and women live off potatoes

oatmeal fishfingers and poor beer
your skull face on the television
tells them
they’re better off than the Africans

the Irish hold
the mirror up to your nature

you have laid the world to waste Britannia
no good gaping at the stony face
you put on all your stamps

In the first place men came to Australia from behind bars; a
continent to populate with prisoners, a bitter furnace for dissenters, a
desert waste for democrats to break stones. Here they became
innocent; diffident, timid, brave in the face of nature, gullible. England
did not let them go. Vengeful and cynical, belief-manipulators, time-
warpers, offering a culture in which they did not believe and laughing
at Africans in suits whose children are daily sacrificed to the god Rolls-
Royce who dwells in London and stuffs charcoal down the lungs of
his attendants and fills their veins with chalk.

shooting up aspirins in prison
infected legs can hardly walk
the road to freedom

the wind of pain still blows through Britain’s rock music despite
the money. Money will not make up for that destruction, that mechanical
horror let loose on the world
salt mines of Trapani
guana deserts of Chile
broken hill
the stripped forests of Tasmania
the great lakes

the Seine belongs to Paris
but she flows into a swamp
of black slime lit by oil flares
hell is not more sublime
the Avon
ends in Avonmouth     night shift
at the smelter
sulphur and dust

hell’s angels
Arthur William you
do what you must

redheaded pair
shot down while flying in the air
heavenly twins
your beauty made them stare

that’s when the fun begins
what are they doing up there
bring them down

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