Rookie (February 9th 1948 / London, Westminster SW1)

Fragments From Before The Gaze Of Alphabet - Poem by Martin TURNER


A speckle of rain. Wasp weather.
The river popples between the reeds.
Three p.m. spike in September
of a day that started coolly.
Rain that began as a smirr
exits as a guggle of drainwater.


A plane slides onto the apron
of the nearby tarmac,
an insect leaving its sac.
But will the unstruggling son
one day don the warrior’s torc?
Overhead a soaring roc drops in an arc.


Iago Prytherch shoulders the labouring elements,
too work-warm to think of cold,
while the wind abrades the neighbouring hills,
importuning silence.


The tall man, free-footed, swings
his small blond son onto his shoulder
from where the latter eyes the world
with happy noises.
Admiring, the women watch,
wishing themselves untethered.


Notches fur the vale of sky.
Evening cools the flowers shut
and opens the eye of solitude.
Pines hang the wrong way.
Canals of light brush down dust.
Silence swings in the bracts of the ear.


In summer my sun-flecked wooden shed
is a wailing wall for wasps.
Materialism fills
the soil up with bones.
A few slight poems survive
like garlands in the river.

A curious stalemate
between impatience and procrastination.
But nothing can dissemble
this injection of emotional darkness.
Those who live in sealed basements
must worship the sun.


Bathed in home she plumped
for the marauders’ train,
smiling as everyone noticed
the platform announcer’s singsong.

Trying to avoid panic and alarm she supped
at rest and sunshine like a prisoner,
letting her cortex unwrinkle
like a finger-smoothed sea.


The spiritual cramp to be endured,
the clamp of survival, is lifted.
Fed by the flame of doubt
the sordid Protestant conscience
has little to say to the democratic rabble
with their dark glasses and mobile phones.

Politics insinuates an indoor sport
of orchestrated insincerity,
synchronised mass hysteria,
soft theatre of the wish, the gesture, the illusion.
History – how we constituted our being –
soon becomes an accumulation of newspapers.


To be human, thus, is to be visible
only to the eye of compassion,
the naked eye.
The girl wandering by the roadside
is incapable of grappling with
her own tiller in the churning storm.

Thrown about by the buffetings
we lurch forward who would rather
stand still a little longer,
roar for power who instantly
abuse small moments of respite
and anyway cannot stand the voltage.


Easter Morning at the Galleria Accademia.
It is the mind that sees.
At the San Marco museum,
rocks are like anvils, sheared and planed.
Broad-shouldered, the betrayed Christ
dances, elusive and upright as a pillar.

Pigeons racing the wind
flaunt aspen-like
their bellies of doves;
high above, a hawk stoops
poised with tucked
tail like a fishhook.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 20, 2008

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