Parkways|Rob Lowe

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There is no bottom,
No real self;
Only this incandescence
Where poetry emerges.

There is the play of style,
Spring flowers in their colours,
Pale adolescent faces
Daffodil and camomile;
A woman in despair
As the kitchen smells of bile;
A workman in the engine shed,
Whose chest is burned with fire;
The structure and the scent,
The bellows and the stink,
The noisomeness of Saturday nights,
The Sunday morning worship
Propping up the hours,
From which the word emerges.

There are the inclinations,
Wild as animals,
Hidden in the garden
And coming out at dusk;
There are the men on benches
Whose thoughts are criminal;
Women, children feeding ducks;
Sleeping Canada geese.

The seeds of an idea,
An ecology of soul;
Where the meadow ragwort,
The buttercups and daisies,
The heavy, seeded grasses
And the stars of periwinkles
Compete for space, compete for sun
And drain the earth of moisture;
And here the beetle and the moth,
The butterflies of summer,
Break up the word, cannot be pinned
Scatter the meaning
On every wind;
Here, the meaningless emerges.

The boys on bicycles display
Basic skill and energy
Rearing on a single wheel
As if they were priapic.
The dealers near the iron gates
Look idle, but their baseball caps
Are watchful as the eyes of cats:
Each sat in a spiral –
Licking hard pads,
But ready to stand and defend.
And by the pond, the cricket pitch
Where litter blows
And dog poo stands
In little pyramids of brown,
A few brown leaves pile up
And toads, whose bulging eyes are miracles
Breathe and watch, breathe and watch

Everything watches:
The stars at night,
The empty moon with its yellow light;
The blunted faces of lorry drivers,
Babies in prams are balls of watching –
As if old Leibniz could be right
And consciousness is seeing.

Yet the magma of creation
When it exhausts itself
Will be a monument of words,
Dry as a dissertation.

Watch the young girl running,
Across the steppe, the veldt,
Through cities, villages and shires,
Watch her spin a hula-hoop;
Watch her play, and watch her grow
From a slight stick
Into a fruit
As tart as anything the gods
Could imagine or create.

But the gods are dead:
Nietzsche said this;
And Nietzsche knew
That Zarathustra’s words were true.
So how did the young girl come to run,
Who made her run?
Who gave her song,
And words to record the days she had?
Where did poetry come from?
And why do these words go running on –
Though technology grows:
Its skills make wars
More dramatic than before.
While I sit here
In a day that’s cold,
Man without self,
Yet the words go on.
I breathe, I feed,
Do all bodies do
To preserve the soul from day to day;
And the words migrate from me to you;
From whence did they come –
They are who I am.

Rob Lowe

ROB LOWE’s work has been accepted online, in print and as spoken word, most recently by Abridged & Lucent Dreaming; and for two anthologies – Light (Black Engine Press), and Black Lives Matter (Civic Leicester). Strongly influenced by (amongst others) Emily Dickinson, Nazim Hikmet, Edith Sodergran and Thomas Hardy, he tries to write accessible but challenging poetry and short fiction.
He also likes gardening.

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