Angel Of The North


 This week I received this outstanding poem and picture from Sam Simpson of Angel of the North:

 

Pilgrimage.  2018

You stand there
looming like some god
and cast your shadow forth
on hapless legions that still trod
the Roman great road north
glum heroes speeding up the line
poor ploughboys at the muse
pulled and plucked before their time
while you were tearing at the sod
as if tide and time itself 
were running out.

nasty brutish short
the grist 
that fed your mills 
the fire in your belly
in the dark bowels of that hill
where now you mutely stand
a slag-heap
of lost innocence
and broken dreams
that no longer raise a fist.

No feathers on your wings
yet still you bid them come
gathering up the lost
a mother feasting on her young.
rust and brine
the north east winds
and acid icy rain
could not remove 
the drool & gore
that dripped from off your lips.

Pale, gaunt & rick-kneed
haunted ones
consigned, 
to winch and whine and grind
black soot running through 
their veins
organs grafted to the beast
of all you had become.

bodies & souls
bought and sold
but more was not enough
for your occultist buccaneers 
of thrift and industry 
now you sent them through the fire
in mass rituals of death
trenches drenched 
in bone & blood
all spattered in the mud

this rising tide
did float no boats
with crews all ale and hearty
yet still your spew it issued forth
up to heaven
and down the Wear and Tyne
And still they tell your old tall tales
and wipe away all sin
without a blink or blush or frown
ever lashed 

 

tight to the mast
all golden brown
the enemy within
the ship it is still going down
and fast.

You transgressed the ancient boundary stone
your skirts all lifted up 
your nakedness is plain
the angel head is hanging now 

 

in shame.
the hungry winds of change
have blown the sackcloth from your loins
but your arms remain outstretched 
is it now a silent prayer
are you standing in the gap
between heaven 

 

between hell?

tram lines and song lines 
the handmaidens of your fate
twisted steel from the scrapyard of souls
fashioned you the dented cross of Caesar
while bare feet trod the ancient pilgrim paths
in patience and in hope
kept vigil at the stations
strengthening what remained.
nations reap & nations sow

I have passed through the dark lands of your dawning doom
took it through the northern wall
and saw your winter coming
it may last 40 years or 400 more.
now I’m traveling full circle
from Canterbury 
back up to Iona
and still you stand
bearing testament
chanting penitential hymns of silence
I swear I saw you kneel and tie
the shoelace of St Cedd
I love you
Angel of the North.
  

 

 

 

Posted at 21:15pm on 18th January 2019
Blog Archive
books
Bethlehem Road
£8.99 + P&P
More Info
buy now
St Aidan's Way of Mission
£7.99 + P&P
More Info
buy now