At least the breeze might roam
between high-rise and low
or beyond the estates
sequenced like chapters,
residents as old
as the walls are young.
Modest basslines ripple
between container walls
in Hope Gardens' courtyard
while the fathers
Uber gap-year Texans
over Tower Bridge and back.
This Sunday afternoon
place and moment
while the breeze
rousing these hazels
weighs up its next move.
Note: Hope Gardens is a block of temporary housing built from shipping containers on a ‘meanwhile site’ - a location earmarked for development but put to another use in the short term.
Ring of Brodgar
We crouch away in Orkney, turn
faces from the mainland's turbulence,
a nation fracturing from stress.
They'll never notice if we set up home
beyond the Ring of Brodgar,
dodge the draft, as if the miles
between our pulse and London will
suffice, as if somehow
the stones won't let us starve.
What faith is this? It's not
that of the new-age types who
talk all mystical, tell us they sense
some twitch of atavistic energy
when the elongated shadows
of a solstice dawn touch henges.
This creed is purchaseless. We're too
far gone. If there's some distant
essence inside us, sending pulses out
to seek electric resonance
with the Earth's magnetic soul, it's
routed in our ravaging
by light pollution, trending topics,
sat nav. We are stardust. We are tarmac,
raddled as caffeine-stoked receptionists
overdoing sunbeds. We are a king's
remains interred below parked cars.
And look at how we place cold
palms upon the cold
face of the uprights, embrace these
seven types of sandstone
instinctively as if we scratch an itch,
expect to feel something. But look at how
it's been here all along. Consider
how the ring was seen between
the fadeout of its Neolithic meaning
and the modern age,
the way a focal point became
a backdrop, unconsidered,
the layering of complacency
like strata of silt —
across at Skara Brae
it took a savage storm
to eradicate that murk.
Let us celebrate
enlightenment's sufficient might
to excavate this circle
Pete Green is a Sheffield poet and musician whose themes include place, marginality and finitude. Their pamphlets Hemisphere and Sheffield Almanac are published by Longbarrow Press. Pete's work has appeared in various journals and was shortlisted for the 2019 Brotherton Prize and longlisted in the 2020 National Poetry Competition.