Thursday, 14 April 2011

The King of Nab Hill (a stanza stones poem)

'Every time I think that I'm getting old,
and gradually going to the grave,
something else happens'
(Elvis Presley)

There being a limit to the places
a supposed-to-be dead King of rock and roll
can visit, the grey-squirrel quiffed old man
slows the conspicuous pink caddie
to a purr by the beckoning stile.

A fumble of arthritic fingers
and walking frame, shades donned, trademark point
salute delivered to the aged stranger
in the wing mirror and the obscure
mission can commence its shuffling passage.

A laboured groping and the stile
(his latest groupie) is straddled, conquered,
blue suedes settle on the soft sponge of peet.
Immigrant at the threshold of green dusk
looks up, past the grass twitching with laughter,

to the crest sprinkled with turbines - sentinels
perpetually rolling their white, blind eyes.
A struggle up the brittle bracken, left hand
shaking, pelvis no longer under control,
greens and browns underfoot in cataract

permutation - an unreadable hieroglyph.
The journey seems as long as a Vegas bar tab
but the crown welcomes with the adulation
of a crowd of curlews. Wind pushes
with the virulence of an ex-wife
falsifying his hair into a fin.

Pulled deeper into the stiff rhinestoned collar
a shimmy stuttered to the shelter
of a half –fallen cairn, the weary frame
is lowered onto the sun-bleached lychen.
Hunger is found in the empty pupil

of a lone sheep, for this figure who charmed
everything except the vast nocturnal.
No longer a king, a prince, or a knave
but a child blinking myopically into
the emptiness of wild sounds
from the limitless hilltop.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve for posting this great poem. Love the Elvis imagery! We're really excited to see 'Stanza Stones' poets blogging.

Rachel Feldberg, Director Ilkley Literature Festival

steven.nash82 said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, and plug on the festival site Rachel.

It's a lovely thing to be a part of.

I hope you're well

Steve

David Hazell said...

It is simply outrageous to deface the natural landscape in the name of art.

Megalithix said...

Whilst the Ilkley Literature Festival is always to be commended as a fine event indeed, this Stanza Stones extension of the ILF is little short of vandalism in the name of art - pure and simple. Carving on rocks on the hills is vandalism by definition. Just because some lad called Simon has his name linked to it does not alter the nature of the graffiti. Many love 'MUFC' (many more than Simon's poems), but if that's etched onto the rocks it is rightly condemned as vandalism. And this Stanza Stones project is no different. It will encourage others with the same limited intellectual capacity as its organizers to daub more of their own graffiti on other stones, showing they care not one jot for the consequence of their actions. For the project to have more respect, it would ensure that these carved stones were placed in parks or elsewhere in the town, using common sense. But it would seem that those who've concocted this 'vandalism in the name of art', not only care little about the ecology of our hills, but need treating for myopia. Simon Armitage, Rachel Feldberg, Tom Lonsdale and Pip Hall should be arrested if they carve rocks on our hills. They are vandals, not artists.

Amy Christmas said...

van·dal·ism
noun \ˈvan-də-ˌli-zəm\

: willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property

I suppose that point one here is the aligning of poetic engraving as 'destruction' or 'defacement', or indeed 'malicious', though I'd agree with willful, for sure. And then, of course, the second issue of property. Can we consider the moorland landscape as someone's property? Who does that landscape belong to? I prefer the idea that for those of us born with it - living with it, writing it - we belong to the landscape.

Of course, there are people who cannot see the beauty in a series of poems-to-be-discovered lacing the wilderness. Art ought to stay in the galleries, for god's sake! And poetry in the poetry books, in the university libraries, but on the highest shelves, right in the back, under as much dust as befits it... what place does it have elsewhere? How could poetry exist away from poets, as mere words engraved painstakingly into rocks one might stumble across by accident, with no explanation a hundred years from now, no prior warning?

Celebratory poetry written on unexpected rocks in unusual locations: just like the 'MUFC' tags and cartoon penises on city centre concrete; just like that Banksy bloke; just like the East Side Gallery in Berlin; just like the paintings at Lascaux - so many caves senselessly ruined!

Our landscape ought to remain natural, surely? We're barely at ease with the chalk horses and Stonehenges and Druid souvenirs... don't make us deal with chiselling poets on top of all that. Our appreciation of man's mark on nature will just about extend to crudely-drawn imagery from the Bronze or Victorian Ages; globular swastikas and 'cunt stones' will most appeal to our 'limited intellectual capacity.'

Just don't ask us to understand poetry.