Far From Now
Begins. Massive screen, puzzling images, no sound.
All in the air, no meaning found.
From somewhere, far below,
tones too fine to be played on strings with a bow,
deeper than a cello can go,
till there is no time, silence resumes.
Tall houses of merchants near a dock side.
Who looks from the windows?
Who opens the rooms?
It is not still but never more than slow.
Allowed calm to study what I see.
Attend to cries, remoter than whale song.
Here to witness, not to belong.
Too much to describe,
even if I had the skill.
Most of it strange, alien,
not built by my mind or moved by my will.
When I see something familiar,
it looks clearer, richer than it was.
There I am, a schoolboy, one summer,
smiling in the pleasure parks, too awake to dream,
in the Land of the Little People,
in Southport, the seashore town,
held in my hand fair ground candy floss,
toffee apple, Pendleton’s ice cream.
Windy walk, long pier, tide far out,
strain to see a strip of the sea,
Blackpool tower further north,
draws me back, simplifies me.
We will go there one day, parents promise.
Maybe we did.
Who knows what wardrobes and curtains keep hid?
Family outing photographs.
Why do some pictures stay when most of them go?
Loaded ocean liner leaves the harbour.
Moves so grand and slow.
Erratic seagulls. Faces startled by cameras,
most are unaware.
Is that you? Where you there?
It is the past, far from now.
Lone as a lighthouse I stand.
Must be moments of intense living, awareness, we recall.
The rest is blank, gone.
Cobweb on the stair I brush away with my hand.