Sleeping in the North
Now summer's dream has been abated
There are no picnics on the lawn,
Whilst silence in the shadows waited
A violent page from your book was torn.
The green canals reflected nothing,
A tattered sky, a leaning church,
The spinning clock remembered something
And stopped considering, Time is Hurt.
Inside museums we lectured freely
About the grave and lesser things,
Artists outside who were inside really
Butterflies who'd lost their wings.
June came fast, we prayed for winter
To bury numbness in transparent stone,
So long as we could look from under,
Smile and wave, not be alone.
Along the tracks were brakemen working
Slowing down the long decay
Of trains we'd always dreamt of taking
From our lives but not today.
Inside his chest there was a river
Leading to a golden land
Where hunters waited with a quiver
To shoot the apple from his hand.
He sought a pureness that eluded
The best of men, the worst of sinners,
Was shocked to find that he'd colluded
To write the lies of history's winners.
When autumn fell he wanted out
But felt the contract beneath his head,
At night his pillow secreted doubt
Till dawn denied what it had said.
Rising like a rock from dinner,
Tiny creatures that shared his food,
Scattered when he shook his finger
And bellowed at the neighbourhood.
Children stopped their bikes and listened
To the giant in the hills
While signalmen with tins that glistened
Communicated predicted ills.
From far away a reasoned question
Shook his features like a flame,
Every word became suggestion
That stuck like filings to his name.
His tutors stood in line and railed him,
As if his back was made of steel,
His lovers slept because he'd failed them
By showing them how not to feel.
Only river boats are certain,
Bearing cargo that desire brings forth,
But there is light behind the curtain
And models sleeping in the North.