Take no prisoners. Reality has worn away
the shadows which particularly appealed.

Although there are no outward signs,
strangeness becomes very familiar.

Disturbed portraiture exerts a casual spell,
the perfect situation for psychic collapse.

Mirrors, screens, fogged window panes –
each moment floating through the air,

pointing to the name of your reflection.
I am loathe to invoke an image so involved.

The harmony of the world cannot be doubted –
look for invisible grids and measured drops.

Another friend waits to be discovered whilst
our children are slowly acquiring language.

Judgement always has to be revised.


Brief words spoken under the clock
helped us dream. When the time came
we seemed to slow down and tremble.

Hours drag themselves along the road
searching for order beyond the veil
of condensation carried by the window.

Between black options and trapped light,
the echo of specific gravity, slight traces
of frost and snow upon reflective surfaces.

We have to spend energy clearing space
and now the days slip by, although
something has been taken from me.

I have a taste for immobility and going
nowhere fast, like the suggestion of
miniature landscapes within sacred space.


It is monsoon washing away
the thorn trees. It is the prince
making his escape, rats in the
cupboard, ponies which had
to go, a rich portrait of life.

It is a lovely quiet evening.
There is a small photograph
in the local history museum,
showing the gradual migration
and final, succesful escape.

The bubble of perfection
has been pierced. The plank
is splintered through. It is
down to climate change say
some, quoting you at length.


A sprig of blossom aligned
with the maimed apple tree;
the push-and-pull between
arrival and then moving on;
the shadow of a distant war.

A lot of times I immerse myself,
try to get caught up in the swirl.
I like to kick off my shoes with
critics’ scissors snapping at my feet,
have learnt to live with contradiction.

Sound belongs first and foremost
in the mind’s eye; gives voice
the slip and heads off into space,
a satellite soon out of sight.
How would you define a telescope?


Time is standing still. I can see
lines of heat or air – sky functions
as a prism, day is turning into night.

I am trying to use sleep deprivation
as an aid to work, am walking away
from experience and concern.

One has to go on in spite of overhearing
scraps, these fragments of voices. Attacks
of noise are haphazard and unspoken.

I am quick-witted and easily bored;
even on the fringes of community
fashions change every few years.

Silvery stars sink deep into the ink
and scatter light. Perhaps it is now safe
to travel over consecrated ground?

for Peter Dent

We both got to the same place,
seemingly by different routes.

You swore you couldn’t plan ahead
and preferred to let it all happen,

I pored over my invented map
and insisted I knew the way.

Before leaving I stopped and considered
my life as a worn out thoroughfare,

then made a quick about-turn, went
back into the lounge and sat down.

In the end we venture into the world
blind, alone, and on our own two feet.

At least the road to hell is paved.


I plan to open a museum
exhibiting imaginary voices.
You can see through the building
to the sky. Steps lead nowhere,
unconnected wires to the other
side of echo. I hear my daughter
calling, but she’s asleep, although
it is her voice coming through
the listener. Tune into a fading
radio station, the mirrored glass
of sound that thrills and astonishes.
Stray dogs bark under streetlight,
silent crowds move with the logic
of scratchy black and white films.
Is there anyone else here at all?

         © Rupert M Loydell 2004

Familiar Territory is published by bluechrome at £6.99.
Bluechrome Publishing, PO Box 109, Portishead, Bristol BS20 7ZJ