:: Article

Hard by in Globe Road

By Gareth Evans.

“This garden was laid out by friends of the school, hard by in Globe Road.”
signage for Globe Road Memorial Gardens, Bethnal Green, London (opened 1926)

Globe… directly from Latin, globus: also, of men, ‘a throng, crowd, body, mass’, which is related to gleba: ‘clod, lump of soil’

Road… from Old English, rad: ‘riding expedition, journey, hostile incursion’; in Middle English, ‘a riding, a journey’, sense of ‘open way for travelling between two places’; the meaning ‘narrow stretch of sheltered water’ is from early C14; Old English, radwerig: ‘weary of travelling…’

Who will answer the questions that cannot quite be said?

everywhere the dead

the wind the wind my eyes

cities under their assault, cities and the morgues of cities
spilling
out of room

trampling out of rooms
leaves of shoes in scatter
on the floors of halls and hospitals
shoulders hips and wrists and breasts on fire

flame of hair in flames

sight and hearing shot

oh the great outnumbering of the dead

assemblies of the gone
filling every vacant field

chanting through their cracked pale lips
the solitary wish

remember let the walls
remember
everyone who was

the wind the wind their eyes

we bury them with deaths that fall from skies
they wait in the store and queue and
kill us from the chest
we and they and we and

they

an ‘other’
is a what is
just
another person
struggling not to die

and even to survive

in cities
in the common darkness
in the capital of light
wear your coat but
open
loose
hide nothing but your fear

wake up and do not lie

throw the risk that is
your life into
anything that floats
space for your body
just perhaps
a child or two
not more

and leave the unsure coast

burn your fingerprints
a smear of ash across the tide
or offer them like eyelids
glued shut beneath a train
as you attempt
your fatal entrance
to the city of the world
to the town of the globe

oh the great communities of earth
in the arcades and the public realms
all the tongues and all the gestures of
the hand
and the multifarious mouths that sing
and the infinite alchemies of food
its serving and the stranger’s table set

arrive
bare soled
out of the huge voyage of your need

into the woven ways
the lanes of dyer’s colour
to the poverty of tears
and the blinding gale

the wind the wind your eyes

in the day a theven lane it was
half inch a loaf
a bird a bush
a scrawny plate
raise your last
this thin unleavened hour

so where to search for solace
longed for
arms inside this
swollen maze
when everywhere a non-place of
consumption
of all things and energies and hours
in the silvered forest of the towers?

will it be let
your gentle soft incursion?

for to reach this place
means your fierce displacing
of everything you were

to find yourself one Sunday late
late
in a long year
in a grasp of garden
craft school made
watched over
by the blinded outstretched
legendary
hand

between the
panes of sealed steel
bound tight as silence over
vast and ancient wounds
– eyeless all the trailing routes to Gaza –

and the vanished station of the crossroad

in this yard of mortal
stones
the script long run to runes
broken teeth of memory in the gagged soil mouth
of years

thorny acacia
golden privet
prunus
flowering cherry
and
snowberry
currant
and
veronica

all of this the growing granted gift

now we scaffold the demolition
‘we do removal’
the short assassin is still
alive

so tear past the old frontiers of freight
navigate the ghost rails
dodge the live wires
and the constant blows

you are the one who lost their way
you are the one who could not stay

you are the one who opened doors
you are the one who heard the poor

you are the one who knew the call
you are the one who left it all

sea and land and autumn air
failing fast past all repair

build a chest tomb
to your loss
his tiny 8 months old

his sacred passage
short as breath

the wind the wind our eyes

find any shelter past all shocking weather

listen to the dead and listen hard

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gareth Evans is a writer, producer, presenter and curator. He programmes film for the Whitechapel Gallery, London.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, April 22nd, 2016.