Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Remember that long drive back from the Lakes,
lightning-lit through rolling rain?
Some nights I dream us on that stretch again,
the road like a river with a line of silver
fish that seem to leap about its centre;
leading us to Newby, Lawkland, Cleatop.
These times, though, the car shudders
as if someone about to collapse or vomit –
a thunderbolt, all cinematic flash,
throwing us forward through time
with the dashboard dials spinning;
making a DeLorean out of your Yaris.
The windscreen warps with scenery,
like AN epic zoetrope at full tilt.
We watch the road narrow
into a dirt track, cars evaporate,
the trees shrivel into nothingness
while others burst up in their place.
Dumbstruck, we sit in its awful wake.
And I want to tell you that the world
we find is a glorious one,
a bucolic idyll bathed in light,
only I can’t. Stepping out into heat
and a sky like hell, a murder of crows
screeches in the field to the west;
the trees diagrams of hurt and harm,
the dry earth barren in an eerie calm.
Walking, a vast silence for what
seems like hours. Then, when I turn to
say as much, you’re nowhere to be found.
By rights, that nightmare should end there.
Instead, on a kind of autopilot,
my dream-self carries on, hopelessly
trekking a dust trail. All to find nothing
aside that weird, familiar outline in the heat,
a shape on the horizon. It’s then that I wake.
poem by Ben Wilkinson; first published in Poetry Review (102:1, Spring 2012)