Tracks and Mineshafts
Peter Riley

Every faint gesture rebounds on us
leaving a vacant hollow in the world:
possible, unfulfilled acts embedded
in the tissue, growth points too late –
the land is riddled with failed promises
and premature returns.

He picks his way among hollows and craters,
earth funnels of abandoned mineshafts,
bracken fields, rose bushes gone wild,
dry voices ringing in the air
exhortations to labour and be patient –
derelict electricity sheds, tram lines
sunk into gravel, overgrassed courts;

he passes rows of empty cottages, hospice inmates,
boarded-up shops and brick scattered streets,
chapels and hermitages in stony wastes
all empty, sites of reflex impact,
inhabitants blasted to non-entity.

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For Amy Cutler

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