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Colin Campbell Robinson 








Report from a Besieged City

Everyone here suffers from a loss of the sense of time
Zbigniew Herbert

They arrive at my door wanting to capture my false self
like I move in unacceptable ways, dancing.
Meeting the old, same as the new, I pray we don't get fooled.
Carry out my connection, yes, I admit my faults, but why are they crowding?
Do they hope to kill off what I say or said years ago?
Perhaps I picked up the tune but what does that matter now.
The mire appropriates everything.

All the best lists are dumped; all the best intentions never had a look-in.
Walk a path lined with washed-out souls hanging by a thread, but hanging.
Some eyes read blanks like shots from bad scenes.
Some tongues indulge dialogue rejected by soaps.
There are difficulties with the work, pitfalls for even the wary.
I thought I'd constructed bridges, ends up they were scaly walls
Slip-slide away into the plot-less day. No-one steers.

Last year hemmed by walls, journeys needing the approval of oberfuehrers
Last year we died at desert roadblocks and on waves we didn't choose to
surf. In anonymity as always, alone as things unfolded.
Last year was for the broken hearted, the ailing nearly-dead.
Last year didn't make much sense.
Last year won't last.

Surrounded by inconclusive evidence, cordoned off and raided in our homes,
our survival is open to doubt although a slither of defiance is in the air.
We're dubious about the link to a past no longer shared.
Will these uncertain times come to a close as yours is the kingdom
and we're blown to glory
for ever and ever,
the end.

The conditional is full of loopholes, there are provisional solutions on
sale up the road. Be careful of how you travel remember St Chris has been
struck off.
A temporary interruption is unlikely, expect lengthy, uncomfortable delays.
Our condition remains impermanent, that's our only certainty.
Someone says; all things are transient. We shrug in response; so what's new.
Two other words that come to mind are fleeting and brief.
Make it like a butterfly.

Clamouring sirens call morning and night. No-ones issuing wax.
We attempt the crossing and are bowled over. A terrible nature has been
born; the love of noise, the coloured distractions,
life equated with the infernal as in; who's making this infernal racket?
A bomb is another noise, the muffled boom, or worse; the shredding blast.
We have noticed the shrinking, all is tighter, reined in. We are corseted,
barely able to breathe, all is closeness at speed. Trapped on a pin-head,
caught when dreaming, tried and sentenced to an endless sentence.

In this dim Light London appeared to me as a huge place of Sepulchres
thro' which Hosts of Spirits were gliding -
ST Coleridge

A healthy contingent of rude boys descends on the bar. They aren't going
to let a little nervousness, the biting-nail fear of their compatriots
cramp their fun, no, let's have a party, invite everyone.
Social gatherings gather pace now the weekend is here and the sun peeps.
All those responsible for the ferment are behind bars; are being
'questioned by the authorities'.
The curtain ripped, the earth rumbled and walls tumbled.

We are in this together. Borders have been breached. Bombs are bombs
wherever they land. People die and are wounded in the same way.
Trembling is trembling in all hearts alike.
At the meeting place we assembled, a ragged congregation.
Those in control strode amongst us grim-armed and booted,
every glance registered somewhere on a hidden screen.
Posterity is the next moment.

Bad time for poetry as Bert Brecht said writing another poem.
There are no excuses for dis-engagement. We live on enemy soil.
Suddenly, we live in other lands.  A hole has been blown through the border
and for a moment we are somewhere else.
It is only for a moment.

they have not experienced a siege as long as eternity
Zbigniew Herbert