Inspired by the above photo of Farrington Gardens, Ardoyne, Belfast, August 1971.
Thank you @wackyj67 (Irish Unionist) for the image!
Either we live in peace, or we have no life worth living.
The Hollow Crown
Stillness, unfurled under an ivory horn of moon,
Upon copper-lit streets, curling tides of mist foamed,
Washed over midnight’s silken shores, August hewn,
Yet, soft as the dreamer’s dying breath, bitter waters bloomed
Flowers of wormwood, that set their wounded roots to roam
Deep within flesh’s fertile soils, gazing lazily into hearths, into hearts;
Mirrors of dead-eyes reflecting hatred’s hurried chants.
Flung aside whatever world they’d called the past, and neatly set apart
Luther’s god from that of Leo, blinded Christ with fingers wrapped
In petrol rag; neighbour, no longer idled, maybe stopped,
To greet their like, for every heart, every head, street or corner,
Became a border, coaxing kings to pull free swords of discord and disorder,
From brick and stone: a royal army arching skywards, glass wept
From staring windows, jewelling asphalt gowns, as sceptres,
Flame-gilded, flickered, held in furnace-birthed hands, gold-dusted knuckles,
That crept with clutching, clawing, malice, toward each door, unlocked,
By feudal boot, or hammer’s clout, where mouths of jawbox sinks
Are choked by teeth of porcelain, and a sorrowful prose of clocks
continue their unceasing orbits of each hour, as goblets clink
With scorching mead, shattering shards like silver rocks
At the rampant rising feet of thrones reaching distant clouds
Red with rains of severed wrist, or stars set in a shining plough,
Below lie hollow homes; tombstones, hung with memories which haunt
These charcoal rows, once someone’s little palace, where they proudly
Stood before and caught their kith and kin in sepia, or fading colour meant
To gaze from walls now gone, walls adorned now with battle-cries, writ loudly,
In inks of green and red; each kingdoms’ awe of princes masked, of their kings’ brutal reign, ruthless renown:
Kings sat upon thrones of graves, proudly wearing their crimes: their hollow crowns.
A collection of my poetry is available below. Thank you for reading. Any feedback appreciated.