Three Poems from Ghostly Archeology



Swan nest, white crown on black, beside the roadside stream,
and the dream of the passenger, on the bus, rolling by…

Water stirs the reservoir of memory,

and yesterday’s quest, where she led me

into the mirror, her mission, to piece together,
segue the archeology of ghostly tracks.

It was a narrow path alongside a fast road –

even on this day of all days, a sabbath Silverstone –

morphing facades, the slipping mask cannot quite conceal history,
the anvil, postage stamp, grindstone in the hearth.

And the romance of neglect, space between stone,

an ultramarine sheen of spores on the cracked tractor tyre
and the broken-latch, sackcloth sealed window.

Meanwhile, a monster, serpentine, slumbers in the meadow.


I remember now, where I left the note –
with the red fox, and the man

with the golden throat.

He discarded it, a screwed-up ball
under the chair in the yard,
where every slat breaks light.

To fill the void, I crack a joke –
although the yolk’s on me,

as the mirror tilts, in the slow reveal…

I look for confirmation

on every street corner,

a desire to speak to everyone I meet,
grab each stranger by the lapel,

the click-clack of Long John’s crutch
as he boards the silver bus,

the peak hour highway,

vacant in the invisible spiral of tumbleweed.


Su photographs the lunar corona,
records the double-note owl

above the charnel houses of slumber.

A billboard proclaims The Country Is Coming To Suburbia!

Earth exhales, the town air redolent with rodent and farmyard smells.
Bosky cattle bellow in the aisle of Lidl.

In her haste to climb a ladder to the moon,

she leaves her lens cap on the newspaper,

a black disc eclipse, shroud of face, mouth and jaw,
blots out the ventriloquist haw-haw.

In these days of facial appendages,

Elephant men queue for essential lottery tickets
and orbits of pedestrians hail each other

from the regulatory safe shore

of two metres distance.

When I sneeze, as I do frequently in these tree pollen days,
it’s like a gun going off, the neighbours all scatter,

hit the deck, take cover.



Jonathan Chant

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