by Aidan Andrew Dun
A good number of years ago I lived in the deep West Country for a spell and was foolish enough to drive a car. The Gloucestershire roads are haunted and night-driving can be a sobering experience, especially after a spliff or two. One night I composed this poem in my head whilst driving near Belas Knapp, an extraordinarily beautiful megalithic site near Cleeve Hill.
Know this! A line divides our world,
along it glide demons day and night.
Don’t go near that black vector, people,
listen for the hissing sound of a snake.
Here, we’re safe, over there we’re safe:
in-between a thousand devils exist!
I speak of a pathway of hurrying death.
(Listen for a sound like a torrent of wind.)
It’s the step of a new spirit ruling the land,
it’s the breath of a rapid wrathful deity.
In the dark you see his wild eyes on fire;
rays of his vision cut the night to shreds.
He leaves a trail of subterranean odours,
as if an underground forest had ignited,
Bitter and toxic. The four-legged people
avoid his spoor; to inhale him is unlucky.
Sometimes the swift metal ghosts attack
green trees to either side of the track.
They try to devour, usually at night,
victims standing there without choice.
Yet the trees kill them, hardly flinching.
(Do they ingest poison from the wood?)
Still they come, like leaves of the Fall,
more than a quick mind can number.
Not alive, yet they imitate sentience
with spark of life and four spinning legs.
A million tiny explosions move them,
raking the subtle sky with long streaks.
They hunt, but don’t stop to consume;
other sudden killings lie ahead.
Keep far from the black track, people:
it’s broken white lines mean certain death.