Mike Snape – Geometry


An evening train back. Immersed
in the maiden flight of British Summer Time
I watch as the vale of York flies

beneath a gliding sun,
wondering whether I’ll catch it leaving
in the hallway as it tries

to sneak out unobserved.
I measure its progress from the
lines of latitude

carved by jet engines
then take my cue from the fenceposts,
who have seen this sort of thing before,

to watch woodenly and amused
as it sinks further, westwards
towards the Atlantic.

Further south and the scene changes.
20th Century monoliths stand solemnly,
smouldering and dormant

above the shadowy fields
and arcing pylons, shrunken
in comparison.

When everything else crumbles
they will remain. Our very own
scattered ring of Brodgar

to show the crows that at least
some advances have been made
in a few thousand years.

A chill comes on, and turning
to my own window, I come face to face
with a fog bank, clandestine

as a sea fret, it’s quiet
progress unnoticed beneath
the diesel’s circular hum.

Initial surprise…but then nothing;
we stare dumbly at each other
for a while and I catch

a face in the glass,
skin bleached, eyes chipped:
a frozen computer screen,

mindless and still.
We speed on like this for a while,
the half empty carriage

sketching out tangents
and loci too numerous to count,
and I turn to my i-pod

to put my mind to rest…
seeking solace in the digital
manifestations, drifting

to a standstill as
pink halos encircle Doncaster
in a deep embrace.


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