Paul Farley

The Power.

Forget all of that end-of-the-pier

palm-reading stuff. Picture a seaside town

in your head. Start from its salt-wrack-rotten smells

and raise the lid of the world to change its light,

then go as far as you want: the ornament

of a promenade, the brilliant greys of gulls

the weak grip of a crane in the arcades

you’ve built, ballrooms to come alive at night,

then a million-starling roost, an opulent

crumbling like cake icing…

Now bring it down

in the kind of fire that flows along ceilings,

that knows the spectral blues; that always starts

in donut fryers or boardwalk kindling

in the dead hour before dawn, that leaves pilings

marooned by mindless tides, that sends a plume

of black smoke high enough to stain the halls

of clouds. Now look around your tiny room

and tell me you haven’t got the power.


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