First one tree, then another, horizons close
towards us, house-lights dim and drown.
The huge, low moon dissolves. Pray in us,
spirit, animus, holy ghost among
the wet leaves, in the smoke’s mute song.
Eyes sting. All perspective gone.
One building bleeds into another.
Torch beams shrink to dandelions
Headlamps fade to dull gems set in cars.
Distances collapse. Shouts could cross
streets, valleys, oceans. Silence, broken
by a siren on another continent.
And what burns? Sweet and salt,
bracken, berries, hair. What new edifice
hardens within, waits for world to sharpen.
Michael Symmons Roberts was born in 1963 in Preston, Lancashire, U.K. His poetry has won the Whitbread Poetry Award and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Forward Prize, and twice for the T.S. Eliot Prize. He has received major awards from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors. He has published two novels, and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Homepage photograph via Flickr by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)