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2 poems by Pete Green


August 2019

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

grow coterminous

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

August 2015

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

from indifference.


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.


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