The Muffled Drum


drawing by Sarah Longlands




Index of titles and beginnings


The muffled drum Night falls on roads. / Goads that force the travel / are repeated often / and unsparingly. Ends / are never reached. / Sounds the muffled drum.
The old man
The furze upon the heath; / the image half gone; / time is short: / one expects a context. / and there is none.
A world where nothing stands prime / in the four o'clock awakening;
Person and Place
Some small settlement, / a place that has a local name / mispronounced elsewhere. / should you leave, those syllables will be your voice:
The Crossing No sense of coming home / in the shore approach; / no figure on the weathered brow / to gauge a distance, // the slow swell regular beneath the keel / the freeboard high.
The Meeting If we shall meet upon the road / it must be at the end of speech, / no talk of origins in mid-day heat / nor within the shadiness of trees. // Two men weary / of the dust of roads
The house beyond the pines
He stood at the door, looking in, / the day's heat behind him, / giving the account of his journey, / to his back the monumental pines
The Horizon
From over the horizon at the brink of night / there comes a steady wind. / It flows outwards from a foreign land / to fan the face cold.
Were the world a paraphrase upon an unclear text Were the world a paraphrase upon an unclear text / it would be written on the person that I am / and all the glossing actions of a day / mirrored on the need for journeying
Morning Star
The stance unanchored / at the waters' edge, / the figure drawing in the line / hand under hand. / bringing to the mirror's face / the weight unseen/
Salt-water borne; / salinity of blood / and of image in the eye. // Day / from night
Laocoön advised by his sons
The wide vessel of the age, profundity of time / filled to the unstable day, when the clay / must break. A man shall walk out on the sand / before the tideless sea
Days past
Days past are gone, / but hard pressures select remains / when days are gone.
Crazy Jane Limits are made / from this side; / the doorstep / the edge of the encounter
The figures
The figures / have a stance; / their feet / are solid on the ground / the mist behind them; / the sky above them; / the winter round them; / the hunger in them.
An eye, a hand
An eye / a hand / stretched / to the past / the key / of speech / in pasts / as dark / as this / as dark / in pasts / of speech / the key / to the past / stretched / a hand / an eye.



five of these poems are presented here: click on the underlined titles









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