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Lay for the Day
3rd May

1926: the beginning of the General Strike, the biggest industrial action in British history.
1979: the Tories win a landslide victory in a General Election that marks the beginning of 18 years of Conservative government for Britain. Here’s a view from a few years in:

Eye City [ an extract ]

pliff booze & powders
Spliff booze & powders
Can’t you play any
Play some blues.

Clit tits & nates
Clit tits & nates
Come out to play in
The 80s,
In the sand-pit.

Many faces made familiar with love’s
Shortage, cocktails raised
In places made similar through spiritual wastage,
Dimness and indirection of the light,
Cash flow and fun with elastic

Would you be wise in bars and beware
That strange girl’s beauty you’re watching
Whisper in your brother’s ear, tenderness
You’d spy out under her adornment?
Cause every he in here’s seen her,
Mummy-lovers, sugar-daddies, hard boys,
That she’s a shape-shaker, hunger-tonguer.

* * * *

When one who weeps will walk the streets,
When the superior man would ask that his tower fall on him
And the wise woman her mirror and her thread to hide her,
Pity the fool, petty, proud and poor,
Who believes in this world and says,
Bless the harlot and the violent that they would be healers;
It’s behave or be saved if the next wave’s the last;
Though everyone’s saying it’s a small world,
Really there’s just a big God.

* * * *

Suddenly a black vaporous tide rushes upon the full moon
And engulfs it. The perfect lesser light completely vanishes
As it had never been, but soon shines again un-vanquished, at which
The clouds, brows beaten by her gentle light, bulk under a new head
And mount broad-winged against it, till the simple disc reveals in time
The assailant unsubstantial, beaming from fissures and chasms
Her splendour. This play it seems they’ll play all night, while our desolate
Sister rises high, obsolete and small as a silver threepence


John Gibbens
from Eye City

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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