Tinder

Gnarled skin, cut and peeled
from a slender pocked trunk
in a storm by shaking hands
and kept in a cardboard box.

A dried husk of a great legacy,
bark and leaves, verdant beauty
now faded, a silvered shade,
a curled fragment of canopy.

Applied to dead wood, piled,
it adds slight height to sticks
and sits there, dormant, until
match head meets strike strip.

The first flicker of rising flame
tastes tender flesh and bites,
shines bright through silver skin,
catches, and bursts, and burns.

Dry remains of an elegant birch,
those charred smoking fragments
of parchment, just for a moment,
shone, and danced, and died.

The Never-ending Economy

 

“Queue Here” reads the sign

underneath the old railway bridge.

An arrow points towards the wall

networked with ivy, tracing mortar;

the road map of the industrial age picked out

in dark green with white-flecked veins.

 The line begins to form, men and women

arguing amongst themselves, exchanging evils,

totally oblivious, so terribly ill at ease

in polyester uniforms and crumpled suits,

virgins to hand-outs clutching at tickets,

early birds to an imaginary worm.

 

Eventually they begin to die, they fall

at the wayside and lose their position.

“Someone’s on the way soon,” they moan

insidious bankers walk amongst them,

nudging out their pockets into invisible sacks,

grimly extracting their pounds of flesh.