Earthly Remains by Julian Turner


Black thin enough to starve your lungs

and make saliva boil is all there is:

in portals, panels and behind

your seat. You watch the planet rise,

come into view, an iridescent

beacon-call, a lifting ball.

Earthrise from above, a view

to die for, a palette urging you

to dip a brush in it, the ochre

smudges of dust as Earth-winds whip

it up like a Dyson sucking sand

into the cobalt stratosphere

that spreads like smoke across the sea.

You turn to look away and black

immerses you again, like death will.


What else is there for you to fear?

Its comforting from here to know

your particles will blow like dust

around a globe so beautiful,

that when your consciousness goes out

at least it will be held in trust

a moment by the planet's grace.

What more to wish for, Little One?

When, all alone and spinning in

distress or panic, think of this:

your molecules cohering in

a stable state and when you age

and finally disintegrate,

imagine how you will be held

by this our planet seen from space.


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Born in 1955 in Julian has had 4 collections of poetry published since 2002 when his

first, Crossing the Outskirts appeared from Anvil Press: Orphan Sites (2006) and

Planet-Struck (2011) all from Anvil and recently, Desolate Market (2018) from

Carcanet. He lives in Otley, West Yorkshire and works as a counsellor.