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Tag Archives labyrinth


The groundsman was already burning leaves.


Each working day, I was paid to lead

other people’s children through the labyrinth

of language – received, standard. (For some,

it was the wrong one – language or labyrinth.

They had their own minotaurs at home,

on the streets). And each day, I would drive back

to smiles and books and weathered bricks and luck.


Watching the smoke drift, I was surprised

to be still there, trying to unload

the dice from some sense of duty –

and something not a little like love.



Just beyond the lamp’s beam, where coal and dark

were one, was fire, flood, blast and rockfall.

Shoring bulged, split. Rock jerked through. Earth returned.

Exploited roofs fell, distantly like sighs.

How men loved life to work that labyrinth

crowded with frustrated lives! There were

children in the collapsed seams. There was dust

in ears, nostril, mouth, pores – ubiquitous

as death, death’s colour – and in the palm, a chance

shaving from the crushed forests, the suppressed

centuries, drawing blood.