Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rare and Racy.

You would not recognise it now
(though did you ever?) this place
amidst the bordering hills that once
stooped under a grey sky without thunder.

For it has gone the way of northern cities
and cast its industry into the grave—
ashes to ashes and dust to dust—
for a cleaner, more hygienic profile.

Even in the bad old days, I fear,
it would have been too bright for your bias,
the winding incline from private thoughts
to public house

less than the angle of the dream
in the scholar’s bent shoulders;
not as heavy as the shovel
in the mind’s stoned cemetery.

This new brick Sheffield
of metal and glass
has towers that invert
the free-fall of metaphor

and little remains in arcades and bistros,
cafes, diners and fast food houses
to attract the thoughts
of shop-soiled humanity.

Once, this was the red-light
where life was at go—
and wolves at The West End
downed beers by the pack-load.

Now, it is restrained,
gentile and reserved
and the noonday drunk
is a prick in a pin-stripe.

Dambudzo, there is nothing,
nothing here to recall
those months years ago
in this city of slate;

unless it is this,
this skeleton of a shop:
a last articulation
of a time deceased.

For here in the shades
and the must of books,
where the past’s aroma
is a dark imperative

and brain distills
its unbranded Kachusu,
there is still the residue
of stories and atoms.

So, it was here, in this palpable black,
where dust lies thick in the trench of pages,
you sold another’s volumes of Nietzsche and Whitman
(poets of the earth’s soil, leaves and gardeners)

and read, I wonder…What?...
on these shelves without sunlight
(not thinking of guilt, but mindful of existence)
until the black abyss returned a black gaze.


BronzeBuckaroo said...

Gentrification. At lease, this is what I am taking from the piece.

All the character and soul of a particular spot is taken away and forever lost. Unless, somehow, quite miraculously, a small glimmer of what once was remains.

eshuneutics said...

bb, yes, I suppose: the history of the individual is different from the history of place. City planners sweep away, all is light, but memory is dark, so the locus of the "I" is different from all the civil shows of pride that the "eye" is supposed to de-light in.

BronzeBuckaroo said...


eshuneutics said...

Sorry, bb, "gentrification" says it well. You caught me out with an Americanisation that I misunderstood. Nice word. You're spot on. Do you think blogs can do this? I think they can. You know, sort of grow into a public image until they fulfil a corporate image?

Id it is said...

The "more hygienic profile... gentile and reserved... of shop-soiled humanity" lack the "past's aroma" of the wonder that was!
Thoroughly enjoyed this one!

eshuneutics said...

id it is, glad you enjoyed the poem and thanks for your comment.

BronzeBuckaroo said...

You know, sort of grow into a public image until they fulfil a corporate image?

This scares me because I believe it can happen and has happened with a number if "certain" popular ones.