DEFENCE OF THE REALM (A Mobile Text)
As below so above:
clock-sprung serpents of
Of air-sprung fields.
This is the mobile realm
Wherein a disturbed Connacht girl,
Addressing her phone’s gold chip, thinks
England was once an ocean-ploughing ship,
But now her steel black masts have no sails:
Their waves fall figure-of-eight
Upon their electronic selves.
Each mast a tower of wire.
I am the prisoner of a gyre.
She shifts uneasily in the serpentine atmosphere
Of “The Seven Stars”: Sky News
On the box thinking this pub is an aerial field
And that there are light-years between
each zig of its scene and each zag of the fence of its being.
‘Don’t think about it girl.’
Her clock-sprung lad suggests.
'Don't touch these times with your mind
Or with that cobra-head intelligence,
Or that resource of the poet,
Or you will surely rue it.'
‘But the stars must have to have a message Jez,
‘Cos there must be some way out of here,’ she says.
‘And The Plough must be a sign to us from he
That holds the seven stars to be
More than a clock-sprung aerial mobile fence.’
He says: ‘we cannot know the texter from the text’.
And he keys the personal number of a great psychiatrist.
As above then, so below:
The clock-sprung serpent fences
And England not a ship but a bleeping phone
With nothing at the helm
Except a hospital of cable, glass and chrome
For the defence of the mobile realm.
Copyright Peter Higginson 2013
Peter Higginson was born in Bilston, West Midlands in 1962. In 1980 he read English at the University of East Anglia and in 1984 studied Marxist literary theory at Wadham College, Oxford. He taught for five years at the University of Wolverhampton and is now temporarily retired on political and health grounds.