I might have written in my journal | “So, once again, to the game of monuments and fragments” | As the real work is done | far away from witnesses | and a fighter’s true force | is felt outside the gore and buffet of the ring | so too with words | and how they at once | chafe against and admire | their containing ink | and with you in the background | plotting | consciously or not | endurance beyond the silks and rosemary | how the finches change | and the seeds change with them | and the thoughts change, too | and all of us with them

In the slender graves of words, the words | that bring us to the ink the words | are laid in | like genies confined in bottles | the children dance and sing | skip and cuss | and play at violence and romance | and | indulge in romance and violence | with me in the foreground | writing them, not exactly | There is a gravity for impulse | a slot the glance may run in | that week | the weather never quite did warm | despite the forecast | Superflat, there is no one wins | not the winner | not the crowd | the killer’s life | is gentle | as Little May’s | persuades | precisely the same value from the atoms | the rest | is just distinctions | The fallen champion, knocked out cold | in the failed defence of his title | was mocked and mimicked by the kids | in his home town | They used to laugh, and point | and they’d lie down | and shout I’m John Tait | as John Tait | who was so proud | looked on | If endurance is the mark | of champions | how must we endure | to conquer change? | Over the fields near Shelford | a flock of starlings bloomed and swung | stretched and clouded | their fluid group | and we were there to see it | you and me | the real work | being done


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, June 2016)