:: Article

Too Long a sacrifice

A poem by Ian Patterson, for #GE2015fiction.


Too long a sacrifice
can make a stone of the brain.
We must have the damage by which
the stars burn in their courses.

What, he said, is the chance
that we could mean what we say
and hold to it? Fear & lies
& greed & obedience & disbelief

stalk Beveridge’s giants with glee
and puzzlement as millions disappear
into misty fantasies. Failure. Listen
to the cruel cost of it. Imagination

dead image, bank on it against hope
to turn to what if not stone and its
canonised individualism only
turn to turn against it all and start again.


Ian Patterson teaches English at Queens’ College, Cambridge. He is a poet, and also a translator of Proust, and others.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, May 8th, 2015.