In construction sites we see our mortality, our grand lie, the potential for the futility of all human creation. The scaffold grounds us rather than lifts us. It is the very picture of our ennui, the dream of our true existence.
In the writing of my upcoming collection of poetry, Scarecrow, the ever-evolving skyline of London – which is itself a euphemism for the loss of homes, the displacement of families, the estrangement of individuals, the eradication of cultures etc etc – was a constant presence.
Even at the other end of the rail tracks, out in northeast Essex, the sense of almost violent change etched itself into consciousness – on the platforms, in the pubs, and as the opaque tides of the Colne sludged their way in and out.
There, ‘the arms that thrust above the streets / the colour of blood’; and then, elsewhere, the ‘galium hedgerows’, the ‘over-luxuriant trees’, the ‘blooms of frost’ on flint walls.
These collocations are just some of the tensions that the poems explore – although I’m not sure ‘tension’ is really the right word. It just ‘is’. And the Scarecrow just stands there, seeing as much as it can.