November 25, 2008

Shrubs in the hedgerow sharps whisper conspiracies,
with breath of grey wind torn from shrouds stretched over
the land of fear. Sheep stand cold in the rain,
tree branches fracture light fault lines,
fingering upwards where the ravens clot,
circle, clot. Locked-down land, squeezed tight;
police country, clocked by the cc camera,
factories rolling out weapons, wheeling out tanks,
beneath the radar-rook-infested storm,
helicopters beat low over Stonehenge,
satellite heaven, black electronic cloud,
cracked by media thunder; shoppers galloping
crazy down Oxford Street, reality tv eyes
staring flat across the flat, hard to the tor.
The grid lines gather, the ley lines collect and hum,
accumulating power; tractors tattooed
into the raw soil, etched into landscape skin.
We huddle, we whisper against the terrorist,
and reaffirm our bond. We pray for petrol, diesel.
The trucks muster and hurtle down the M4.
Fluoro-jacketed police sharpshooters, deliver us.

by Paul Stevens

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  1. November 26, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Striking, Paul.

  2. November 26, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks Michelle–I wrote it when I was in England recently. It struck me how built-up and man-made and locked-down the place was compared to Australia — though I had the same feeling when I went to school in England decades ago. It was a relief to cross the Severn into South Wales, which felt more open and less urbanised, though even there we had jets breaking the sound barrier over Tintern Abbey.

  3. Alice
    November 28, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Love the quiet apocalypse. Enjoy the crows.

  4. Alice George
    November 28, 2008 at 11:41 am

    whoops ravens

    check out my prose poem “The Creature” further below on this page

  5. December 9, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Ravens in the bare trees — especially at dusk — is one of my defining images of England.

  6. Paul Stevens
    January 28, 2009 at 7:01 am


    Ravens are still quite a scarce bird in England although they are around. You have probably mistaken Carrion Crows, Rooks or Jackdaws for Ravens.


    I also find Peter Gabriels “Salisbury Hill” very annoying when he sings “Eagle flew out of the night”…. always possible that a vagrant eagle might be in the area AND flying at night I suppose.

  7. April 21, 2009 at 3:43 am

    The owner of the cottages where we stayed in Wick St Lawrence insists that they are ravens. I don’t mind — rooks or carrion crows will do!

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