FTMT's Favourite Five Top Tenets

Monday, January 15, 2007

Keeping Mum


I’ve stopped trying to figure when things first went wrong
When the rails were ripped up and trains stopped running
When the holidays still happened but passed me by
When the wars ended but replayed on in a endless loop
When the tiny becomes huge and the valuable is squandered.

So you’re stuck in 1939 or in the Empire Hotel or somewhere
A world so small you have to crawl to get around
Those Sunday school picnics and crowded harbours
Scrapping and watching and seeing the passages of time.

Exhibitions viewed dimly through wire rimmed glasses
And no sense of worth because of their education
Systems that were corrupt but better than nothing
No sense of loss or ever real expectation.

Inside a hollow place of butcher’s boys and loaves and bicycles
Living in a village and trapped in a bottle.
The blame’s in the name and the crushing thumbs
Of elders and betters and ministers and nuns.

How can you not know that a few miles away other things were happening?
Farmers were working sixteen hour days; coal miners were black and trapped
Mills ground down men and machines, hot rivets popped and cracked
Journalists with Brylcream and cigarettes tried to capture it all in their best learned English, with ink.
Starched politicians of the hour blinked at brown box cameras and blind, foggy lenses.

No work or mixing or anything for over fifty years
A growing disconnection and a deepening illusion
Here come the home helps and carers
Here comes the doctor, the nurse and pall-bearers.

The shock of the new washes over you
The shock of the new magnifies you
The shame of the past cripples you
The tiny fragments of steel live in you.

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