Sky white and three days swollen,
memory akin to the consequence.
Whiteness that contains every colour.
Mind outruns body until meetings are
casual, contingent. Muscle-memory. Coasting.
Don’t fight the flight response.
When the world goes missing wait
for it to return, recalcitrant and willing
to make amends. Don’t let distance
or time tame the respect.
Silly to still be writing the same thing
years on, yet room, surely,
to hazard a different ending? Not happier,
maybe, but briefer and with better dialogue.
Read every book starting from the back
or work both ways towards the centre.
Be surprised by twists of plot or character
innovative use of unreliable narrators.
Live side by side with worse surprises.
Imagine a darkness that contains every colour.
Not everything that happens to you is fascinating.
Leland’s New Year Gift To The King, 1546
Nothing less than the past.
The past presented in fifty volumes,
or as many more as it might take to complete the task.
The past newly freed from its fetters
of idolatry and rude superstition.
The past captured,
and sealed off for safety’s sake.
The past made strange
behind the mask of the Middle Ages.
The past thrown from its pedestal.
The past that’s not so hard to write
(the labour’s in divining what to leave out).
The matter of Britain and the past recast
as the drama of the man who destroyed it.
The past multiplied into infinite recess
as fast as he could reach out to grasp
what left him, fallen, beside his wits.
Copyright © Matt Merritt, 2010.