The secret commonwealth
How shall I define the secret commonwealth?
By black eel-lightning
stabd my path
striving for some damp ditch to take a breath
so ugly, furtive and surpassing strong.
By a teenage girl, barely awake, too drunk to feel the cold
halt, listening, in the freezing dark, on Newton Lane
to an old woman's cough, cough from an upper bedroom window:
someone that she will never meet or know.
Apron of pale gravel
in front of painted garage doors
innocent of the terrible acts that were committed there
the body-dirt long cleaned away by urban rains.
Those many features of the land that are not shown in maps,
Pornography that has been thrown away,
Rope swings across the overspilling beck,
Pink jays and rhododendrons that nobody loves,
Carers in washed out overalls await the early bus.
What is by these extremities defined?
Courage. The persistence of life
unto its bitter end.
A commonwealth of that which is not named,
not lovely, and will never be redeemed.