arcane projection from the sepulchre
sweet day of eradicable pain

railway ribbons stretch, bulking
monstrous rivets into the green
earth, claiming territory
for the kind of people who own
other people, their sweat

& those parts of skin exude
passion & compassion
to soluble form: a generation
ago all this was virgin

& will revert
in time
to something like

fresh wax, an impression
passion for the possible

bespoke tailoring
stains on a cuff

your impossible voice
caressing the blue
sky, white clouds

scudding for miles in a single
light puff, shadowing
glacial scars become populated

with TV aerials & outdoor netties
scraps of newsprint telling
six impossible stories before
industrial bacon & stolen eggs
ketchup stains on porcelain

music & mathematics
mirrorballs & monsters
the mythy magic of an African deathmask
brave faces & fractured bones
church steeple erupting from a froth of green
fields where workers toil, grim visages poised
over trout streams, alert for a kill

dazzled by dappled evening sun
the driver failed to see the warning light
his truck sprawls in the ditch
cargo of live pigs some crushed & squealing
while others roam the fields of wheat & beet

Methodism & magic
mercury & mills
intemperate rising of steam & green corn
paths of righteousness cut through hillside woods
where indentured boys run wild after work
conkers fought & beechnuts chewed
the sly taste of blood on a lichened knuckle

corporate knives are out
for paring unnecessary flesh
from the carcase
of a small family firm
in these uncertain times

this sucker could go down


homo erectus, upright man
of business & gets down to it
spendthrift mendicant
kow-tows to Hang-Sen
all those places
we pull the plug

a sittingroom like any
other, soft furnishings & TV
set upon hidden purposes
nefarious as hot laundry
the kind of small man
who likes to throw around
more weight than he has
enters the equation
of mass calibrated
against a graph of
MC enters upstage
down dale, dragging
migrant workers & a recalcitrant
smog of unknowing, half-
innocently unaware
he collects books, music, photos
of sacred objects & profane
the alpha male
loyal & callous
to his hired hands
pushing 50 & the boat
falling between
         syntax & synopsis
         the quayside & the hull
         two stoolpigeons

she greets him with a siren's rictus
& the hormones riot

                 what next?

one might construct
a narrative
light on meaning

make coffee & amends
make up
for lost time -
faites vos jeux

Two scenes from

who but an English aristocrat
would turn Don Juan
into a tourist?
he examined the vessel on all sides
& shook it to see
if its contents made any noise
but he heard nothing
my hypothesis
is that the kinetic energy
of an electron in orbit around the core
is related to its frequency
of rotation thus five major centres
of unpuritan practice
were cleared within the first few days

a nobleman might read a book & acquire
some learning but surely not write one
the ordinary soldier make himself understood
only with motions & sundry gruntings

the usual modern translation
of civitates
in the context of Britain
as tribes says more about recent views
than about the Romans' ideas


I dropped into line with the women
with rich clusters of columbine heavy & dark
I have had one or two moments
like that in my life

the mountains ride along
a great sweep of horizon
only their snowy peaks visible
a wisp of deft strokes
applied lightly
whimsically hovering
mythic & illusory as a rainbow

when Lenin seized power in 1917
he applied the German war model
to the task of making Russia
a great industrial power
the war had taught Mussolini
that nation is stronger than class
a thousand corpses lying in rain & sun

as time went on Solomon
brought more girls to the hut
a megalithic tomb at Saumur
once contained a cafe

a Musulman chief spread his couch
at the communion table & on the altar
sacrificed each night
the virginity of a Christian nun
in smaller places the arrival
of the boat from England
was a great event

      Aidan Semmens 2012