From atop of a hill
A friend and I look out over a dark panorama of Wiltshire.
In the distance:
Its amber glow pulses industrially;
Headlights cut paths across the night;
And a canal shimmers in the darkness.
From this rare position,
This elevated point,
Overlooking and detached,
I recognise the wonder of human existence:
That, after all these years,
There are now so many of us,
Organised and habited in unheard of ways,
Going about our strange, human business.
And yet, the wonder flickers in me only weakly
For, with all the advantages of sentience,
Language, opposable thumbs and cerebral development,
This (after some ten thousand generations)
Is what we’ve come to –
Where all roads lead to Swindon:
Giant monocultures in soil poisoned by an array of startling chemistry,
Products flown across the planet with no sense of season or locality.
The dogged worship of figures, profits and production;
In thrall to the Market and the dogma of its functions,
Not using it for our own designs, but coming up with
Endless projects to grow and to conquer,
Where the fat get fatter, grazing in the clover,
And squash a hundred little ones whenever they roll over;
Grand designs for neon signs
And toys made of minerals dragged from mines
By men who’ll never see the glitter.
People beating down internal terrors that might threaten their conformity
Clinging to a normal that is really nothing but a story;
Hanging out in William Hills and waiting for their winnings,
Easing their fears on assorted pills and building roads to Swindon.
On this hilltop,
This is a place of friendship.
We watch the world in fellowship,
Let the night time cover our failings,
The breeze soothe the blisters of our souls,
And we speak our minds quite freely,
Knowing that we will come down again soon,
And return again too.