Friday, 30 December 2016

Дървета в Портисхед/Trees in Portishead


                                            Fog swags over the estuary make it hard to tell
                                            if we’re looking at mud banks, islets or the far coast.
                                            If you hadn’t told me, I would never have guessed
                                            these flat-topped bunkers below us on our shore
                                            had once been used for storing natural gas.
                                            Old industries litter the littoral while behind us,
                                            in the field beside the main road, there’s a mast
                                            whose warning siren they still routinely test
                                            in case of chemical leaks, aerial toxic events.
                                            Such dangers in the air if we but knew it.

                                            And so here in the aftermath of Christmas
                                            we’re doing what we can to make sense
                                            of all that’s changed and changing.
                                            The edge has come off the temperature.
                                            Walking back up the hill, beside fences,
                                            dustbins, smoothed asphalt parking spaces,
                                            you ask if these trees are silver birch.
                                           “Yes,” I say. “They are.” And the past
                                           makes friends with itself and for a moment
                                           consents to our leaving it utterly silent.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips


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