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Tuesday Poem: Helen Ivory - Nights in the Abandoned City

Dark comes home to the abandoned city and heaves off its boots by the fire. It is astonishing how weary the dark is from its work, its commute through choking towns and encampments.
It talks to the flames of the things it has seen of the stilled hearts it has held between finger and thumb. It unburdens itself of all human sorrow.
And the fire, pretending for now it is a hearth at the centre of a church house, listens like a priest and bites its own tongue, imbues the parlour with cloying incense.
In the shadowplay, the dark is a plague doctor’s mask, a bone-saw, a gathering of spat-out teeth. Soon, fire will describe a still life of eyeglasses: their tiny infinities – all their dashed lenses.
From ‘Maps of the Abandoned City’ Copyright Helen Ivory, reproduced with permission, Survision Books, 2019

Human beings have a strange fascination for abandoned habitations – lost Mayan cities, Aztec palaces, Egyptian cities made uninhabitable by drought, disease and changing political climates.…

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