Starlingrad

Up on a hill

Joseph kept watch

The bend in the river below sunlit

Chromium plated

Polished

A coiled snake between meadows

Murmuring with contoured malcontent

Slowly

Slickly

Slovenly

He wandered the graves with Malice

The Dog of War at heel salivating

Pawing the mud for bones

And feathers

Until

 

At last light

In February’s awakening

When the snow had settled

And the fighting ceased

The sky filled the ruins below

With wonderment

Upon every shattered casement

Shelled and hulled obituaries gathered

The shadow ghosts

Iridescent souls

Brought together to roost

One last time

Before

 

Chattering to the heavens

They fled

On morning’s mist

To be seen no more

in a hole

in a hole

grubbing about

black truffled soil

snouting with pouts

a clawed devil pitcher

grappling blind looks

this mole-eyed watcher

tunnels trenched foot

in the dirt demon darkness

wormed thoughts tickle roots

sniffling and snuffling

guffawing great hoots

lost to the shadows

wearing jackshitty boots

shod to the marrow

black clods crumble books

in a last wasteland wordscape

killer kisses are blown

quicksand tragic faces

turfed walls tumble down

with a gargle and choke

hemophiliac blood flows

thrown from life’s saddle

never knowing what goes

in the twist of a tale

cockchafing cockroached

mankind’s mother lizard

regrown and reproached

unthinking unkilling

eternal misrest

left in a hole

grubbing about in a vest 

 

 

(With this piece I wanted to combine several different images in order to create one complete theme. I started by thinking how it would feel to be stuck down a hole unable to get out. The scenario turns somewhat nightmarish with the addition of (Lord of the Flies pig) and burrowing mole references. The darkness and shadows represent the threat of anxiety and depression. There is fear too. Written on or just after the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme it was difficult not to ignore the ghastliness of the trenches. Grappling blind looks is a play on grappling hooks. Likewise jackshitty boots for jackboots and jack shit as in nothing or not knowing / understanding anything. There are other war references to be found but mostly by the second half the imagery is sufficiently confused and mixed up that it could apply to any of these thoughts. I’ll leave you interpret the remaining lines as you wish. All I would say is that by mixing imagery and blurring definitions I hope there is enough freedom on behalf of the reader to apply his or her own meanings. What do you think?)