In the Wreckage of Spectre Town.
As birds they fly from Spectre Town once all the blood runs dry –
they’ll hardly pause to catch the vacant stirrings in its eye.
Where once they happily supped of water rushing, barely checked,
they’ll leave the rusting, gated grounds to champions of neglect.
‘But look!’ They chirp, as up they soar ‘Observe how we did strain
to build on this white city’s walls a place for wealth to reign’.
And to the pulse of throbbing hunger wastelings writhe in play –
the sort of play that wrenches, watched but touched, is quick to fray.
‘Can it be helped’, the birds they chirp above the wailing throng
‘If some are made from strangled gasps and some from golden song?’
On corners sharpened by the boom a rascally phantom moves,
enticing once enamouring souls to shelter ‘neath its hooves
And leading the emboldened lost it gathers memories sweet,
‘till all they can recall is when to wake or wandering, sleep.
Perhaps you hear them, perhaps you don’t, they’ve never known their cue.
But where the city’s sparkle blinds, they’ll come and sing to you.
The ghosts, I mean, it is the ghosts whose night you must make day,
or else the birds in deafening choir will set your heart in clay.
Copyright © Elspeth Turner 2014