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Outside Chippenham by Al Crow

Driving to an industrial estate on the backroad I know so well

that same sad music playing as it has so many times

that same song flicked back to the start.

There are birds around these roads,

doves interbred with pigeons

blazing out from cover,

a magpie that twists in the air ahead of a mini roundabout,

shaping its body against the wind,

ravens studying the ground beyond a tumble down wall,

picturesque in murder.

As I drive, I think about things that don’t exist to me anymore,

like time,

for one thing,


a god turned to mite or a child grown to man,

maybe purpose too,

a concept that doesn’t scan like it did before,

not to mention value and truth

those false fates – and as I drive,

I try to name a handful of things that exist for me still,

as I flick the switch on the wheel,

sending that same sad song

back to the start

over again.


Al Crow works across fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry, exploring the climate emergency and human fragility through these mediums. Recent poems are featured or forthcoming in Broken Sleep’s Eco-poetry Anthology, Green Ink, Vaine, and Epoch.


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