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BooksSeptember 13, 2019

The Friday Poem: Turning, hurtling by Morgan Bach


A new poem by London-based poet Morgan Bach.

Turning, hurtling

I march diligently
to sunshine in the park

everything bathed
and turning golden.

A woman breathes fire
by the folly framing her

like a personal door to hell.
Conkers are pitched from high boughs

to break and give up fruit, a spire
emergent from the baring trees

the endless rustle of pigeons
searching in detritus underfoot.

Autumn is a loud season.
Through the wall the neighbour cries

no, no, then yes. I am a constant ache
where I hinge. I’m unsure

what season my body is in,
losing the hours, thinking to deadline.

Already I crave new foliage
my will browning round the edges.

I must become a self-sustaining
ecosystem. Must rebuild dams

to equalise my impulses,
must hope there is something living

back there in the hills, and running.
Must prepare for the conditions by which

when winter comes
I will step onto the ice.


I gather with friends and strangers
in the long grass of the heath

bottles of fizz in our coat pockets.
The city offers something to compensate us

for our empty fear, to placate us
and the plague-dead we stand upon.

There’s no unburdened ground.
We murmur, reduced to pre-verbal excitement

nerves licked by the smell of gun powder,
sparks collapsing back on you.

Delight in mass dumbness,
at bursting thistles and silver jellyfish rain

screeching ghoul-whirlers like enraged sperm
shot into the sky. Yes little atoms it is right

to hurtle into the future screaming,
to cry at the unknown.

The tornado of stasis I feel
facing loss upon loss. To burn things

to gather in fields and burn things,
to in our thousands ignite it all

not for the failure
but for the attempt.

For days the dark is filled with booming
and peripheral glimpses of fire.

Keep going!