No one knows who we are or where we are going,
or what was in the first darkness,
or what will be in the second. Do you remember,
pa, cutting the clutter of thorns & weeds
at the old house, pulling the work-
sheds down in a shower of glass & white lath
& in between the drive & the boundary
we found a pump in its tracery
of iron flowers, then a few hours later
beneath the matted, leathery stems of blackberry,
the well & we pushed in the rotten
well cover & looked into the shining darkness;
into the water holding the light & the sky
was below us in the earth & we
were crowned in the sky of the earth?
Isaiah or the Psalms: the darkness is not darkness.
The Road Out
Do you remember the stubble-burning days
that this generation will never see?
Hawks on thermals peering into windrows
through a veil, torn in places,
the sun going dark at noon, smoke drifting
over the hundreds & the clouds?
The glow in the west each night like a city
burning beside a river, hawks
bounding through ash, gulls embonpoint
stabbing into the turmoil: sleek
& unflustered; proprietary; arrogant?
Do you remember the road
out between fields to the coast at Milford?
A flashing glance through the bars
of a gate; the knee-high lines of flame
advancing over scorched rings
of earth, dim figures – their faces wrapped
in cloth – touching the earth
w/ fire as if administering a blessing?
The smell of it being September, & forever?
Silent shape of a Vulcan spectral
in plumes of smoke over the headland?
Do I smell of the sea, yearning
inward from that blank line where it touches
the sky & the dead wait without names?
Toby Martinez de las Rivas’s books are Black Sun (2018) and Terror (2014), both from Faber & Faber.