Saturday, June 27, 2009

359. The Wreathed Horn

Summon the bells of the morning!
Let them break out, clanging,
across the wetlands and the sullen fields
so that every sentient soul can hear them,
every undeaf spark of life;
and let our people decide, unruly in their beds,
whether they shall answer the call
or read the Sun and Daily Telegraph.

The rain doesn't help,
spitting down on missing absent hedgerows
where useful insects used to live,
doing their little bit for England:
now only the cold rain falls
on a patchwork of green denuded fields,
with a faint rising whiff of chemicals.

Cars whizz by on the M4, the M25,
carrying computer salesmen, fat children,
Social Services ladies in tweed skirts,
and occasionally Prince Charles on his busy way
to prevent some form of architecture.
Slow myopic moles, hasty but unlucky hares,
leave their shattered trusting carcases
on the rainslick roads: hardly any squashed cats,
since these one finds mainly in towns. Now and then,
with a bit more fuss, there are human children.

Such desirable little houses, here and there,
bordered by acacias, gnomes, and mortgages,
as Mr. Next-Door polishes his Bentley in the drive
with a satisfied smirk at your 4-year-old Ford.
Meals have become varied and adventurous
thanks to Sainsburys, Tesco, and the microwave,
but no pigeons come home to roost in the roofs
as the fathers and grandfathers slowly fade away
in their old terraced houses: they are sent off
with economical pomp and ceremony, dead-ending
at cream-white crematoria. Many of these oldies
have a surprising collection of wartime medals.

A different world. A moment to shake your head
before the bloody mobile rings again. Shit.
Here we go back to the real world, a society
we have created and made our own. I can peel
from a roll of fifties, no problem, keep the change,
but you know none of this really means a thing,
you just know you're not really in the game
until you get that call for Breakfast TV.