Friday, June 11, 2021

Lost on the road


Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium). Frome, 9 June 2021.

Half-awake. And in the silent darkness
the far-off sound of clanging
wagons on the quarry railway
someone picking them up and dropping them crosswise

or is it the baying of dogs in a foundry,
a dreadnought works, but where? Does it only 
plate hulls at midnight, is it so far away
that it's only now the sound can reach us? 

Or is there, far in the Mendips, an overlooked cave,
its rocky knuckles a board for the hooting of trolls?
Or is this rumbling a throat deep in the earth
accepting the daily tribute of carted dead?

Bud of Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium). Frome, 9 June 2021.

Lost on the road. Red daylight's
shafts on the grizzled fields
the blue seeds strewn in
the cereals' unspeaking 

ranks. What insubordination
could you expect? 
the ceaseless churning of oil
in baulked queues, the horizon

merely a mirror-wall, 
more towns more media outlets
more care homes more schooling
more authorized burning and looting

Flower of Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium). Frome, 9 June 2021.

You can rinse
you can rinse away
the innocent dust and grease
from your innocent skin

you can apply the pleasant products 
sourced from the plastic aisles
but how can you ever rinse
the grey pond within you

of its wet wipes razor blades
its fatted knots its sunken fears
the everyday hates of the DJs or the 
myths passsed on by the mythbusters

Young fruit of Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium). Frome, 9 June 2021.

The next day I came to the next town
I witnessed the same crowds of different people
moving around the same cafes and bars
automatic wheat and sugar, everything's OK

The still heavens and the hoarse loquacious crows
the child gangs hoeing through their acres of on-screen data
and on the benches by the river
the same drinkers, the same cursing Cassandra

Leaves and stem of Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium). Frome, 9 June 2021.

[Europe and North Africa. More or less throughout British Isles: sometimes considered an archaeophyte but Stace says "probably native". Fairly common in the south of Sweden, also Öland and Gotland. 

The Swedish name is Rågvallmo ("Rye Poppy"). I suppose it means that this poppy is a contaminant of rye crops. I wouldn't know: I've never seen a field of rye. In the British Isles, it's grown only in tiny quantities. Even in the great traditional rye regions running east from Germany, the total rye production has actually reduced in recent times. The reason, I suppose, is people switching their allegiance to wheat: to cakes and pizzas and croissants and biscuits and pies and pasta and all the other foods in which wheat is used as a silent thickener. Wheat's ability to meld with sugar and (especially) to spongily absorb and convey large quantities of fat into the mouth, makes it highly addictive and the perfect choice for an overweight, sedentary lifestyle.]

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