By Simon Jarvis.
The ring road rests, and frost settles over the meadow […]
Where shall I walk now, if not into darkness and silence?
Where shall I walk so as not to be drawn by the lit
emblems and tokens, the winning array? All the new gifts
stand in the windows awaiting a look or a purchase,
stand in the flood of illumining phosphors and glass.
While they are there they are not there: they are in suspended
transvalued inertia, lacking a use, and their properties
face them with magical attributes, turning them blind
just where they stare at us, holding their eyeless fixation
into our faces, these eyed ones, these equally blank
caverns or sockets, these natural organs, surrendered
up to this table, these miniature plinths in the window
folded in silks or in velvets and holding their grimace
towards the indifferent or longing beholder who fears not to
pacify each of their hatreds, fears their concerted displeasures.
Each knows us, sees us. Although we can never believe it,
under this laboured neutrality works a persisting
terror of scorning them, terror of giving offence to them.
We must buy gifts; we must come to the store,
leaving our monoglot offerings there at the checkout,
leaving with objects apparently filled up with life.
How they can sing, can wheedle and tick and can rhyme
winningly to us, as though all we lose for them were
well lost, and given us only to lose in this way. […]