Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday Poem

Prehistory stands in the saltmarsh
on stem-thin legs sinewy
as a sailor's twisted hemp
and cries once, brief and hoarse,
the bugle blast of a tubercular angel
heralding another apocalypse 
then lifts into the ashen sky
and skims the tufted cattails
along the muddied riverbank,
large eyes still reflecting
an earth before time,
blinking away with jaded calm
armies heaped below China's Great Wall
the first stigmata cooled on the cross,
the basketed pallor of French aristocracy,
all the race's casual carnage
running dark and constant beneath
the beating of awkward wings

now flies through the light drizzle,
an umbrella with a broken spine
swept against the darkening sky,
a failed sketch for Kitty Hawk
slowly erased from the page 
and reappears at dawn
alone as always, perched on a rotted piling,
hunched in its shabby raincoat
like a terrorist, smoking long
cigarettes of mist,
coolly staring at life,
waiting for the final bomb to go off,
waiting for the end of history.
From Selected Poems (Nightwood, 2013) by Tim Bowling.

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