Poem ‘Underground’

Underground

By night the town paints clandestine shapes,
broach spires pierce a black arras
and decorated naves of Barnack rag
drape like sepia backcloths for ghosts
and revellers who may pass unaware
on equal terms, merely inches
yet centuries above charcoal rivers
channelled underground,
flushing silently till the night
draws out heat
and chatter of day

Streets swarm with strangers now,
unspeaking shadows in recesses
cupping whispers of gamy tongues,
smoking pipes like brittle bones
with fresh memories of tides
and the deep keeled boats
dragged up onto gravel headlands
by gangs of gruff rovers
and rippling Thracian soldiers
from legions awake to chance,
their unwrested sin

poem and image Β© copyright dfbarker 2012

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38 thoughts on “Poem ‘Underground’

  1. Hi David
    This is so beautiful! I read it several times now. Another very impressive poem. The ghosts really come to life!

    The image has the colours of the underground and the speed!

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  2. Excellent write…love the imagery and the history. I’ll have to bring this one to my wife’s attention—she would absolutely love this poem!

    Here are my fave lines:

    “broach spires pierce a black arras”

    &

    “revellers who may pass unaware
    on equal terms, merely inches
    yet centuries above charcoal rivers”

    Also, thanks for your comments…you’ve been extremely encouraging.

    Like

  3. Thank you so much! Yes, this was inspired partly by the town of Stamford near to where I live and by my home town of Spalding, in which an old river actually still exists in a pipe with a road over the top!

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  4. wow..a lot is going on underground…i like that you take something existing but then spin it in a way that goes much deeper and pulls us in…love the pic as well…kept staring at it for a while before i read your poem…and they’re just perfect together..

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  5. “this was inspired partly by the town of Stamford near to where I live and by my home town of Spalding, in which an old river actually still exists in a pipe with a road over the top!”

    Thanks for the explanation…I love when the poet gives us some insight as to what inspired the work.

    My wife has really opened my eyes to the “fun” poetry can be. I only ever saw it before as people expressing feelings of angst and depression. πŸ™‚ But then she started doing all kinds of word prompts, picture prompts, and “other” prompts, to have fun with her art.

    It was so much fun for her, I had to give it a go myself πŸ™‚

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  6. How movingly you tie together so many centuries of human activity beside these waters. A very different type of illustration for you here, DF! I think it perfectly matches and expands on the messages in your poem!

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  7. Wonderful poem! just to let you know, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. I am not sure whether yours is a no-award blog, but I thought I would. Anyway, it’s yours and you can do with it as you please. πŸ™‚

    Like

  8. Wow, David, another amazing poem, painting a picture, making us feel like we’re part of the activity…and your image is absolutely perfect, as always~

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  9. Hi, thank you so much! I am a ‘no-award’ blog but, don’t get me wrong, I do very much appreciate your kindness in this regards – I am very grateful.

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  10. ….brought out by such a talented artistic soul…even an usual everyday – (or night) scene becomes way beautiful. Gorgeous poem and a fantastic pic (a painting?)

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  11. Terrific poem! I can relate to the idea of ancient humans living in the same place and time goes by and strangers appear.
    I live in the Chesapeake Bay area of the US and we found out that ancient Basque lived here as much as 20,000 years ago. I swear I’ve always been able to feel their presence. I can feel them now. I just didn’t have a name for them before.

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  12. That’s absolutely fascinating, Susan! Yes, I like the idea of continuity. Thank you so much for your comments.

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  13. Because of my surgery and just trying to get through days at the college I have not been here for awhile, David, but looking at these latest poems leaves me with a sense that your poetry has deepened. This is exciting! I hope I am right.
    Lines like
    smoking pipes like brittle bones
    have a fire of seeing in a different perspective that really strikes home into the reader’s guts. The images of this entire poem:
    revellers who may pass unaware
    on equal terms, merely inches
    yet centuries above charcoal rivers
    channelled underground,
    flushing silently till the night
    draws out heat
    and chatter of day
    This is really, really superior work.

    Like

  14. I forgot to comment on the abstract that seems to suck the universe into funneling clouds of smoke and light that disappear into three dimensional infinity.

    Like

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