Words for “We Lowered A Microphone Into The Ground”                                                   



Icht meest yen bar de vich da barunda

(We lived here in the glade until the mudslide.)

Icht esturba y bast ca hurta chais furta pastbar da sallum ustoy.

(We remember a sound like furniture being moved in the room above.)

Icht esturba fenertum wisten bar.

(We remember the windows blowing in)

En neita os.

(and nothing else)

Icht post y fille.  Fe os applay Heidi.

(We have a daughter.  She is called Heidi.)

Tuska mein fet gul ict zi hargen.

(Please tell her that we are well)

Quist annor os immecium?

(What season is it now?)

Os gar harstgarden?

(Is it winter?)

Icht vast gar burllen harstgarden curda gar os varda frigt yen.

(We think that it must be winter because it is so cold here)

Icht claw gul fe os matrice.

(We know that she is married)

Tuska mein fet gul icht amulse hat varda esturlen,

(Please tell her that we like him very much)

Maid icht vas estalen y bullem quantise.

(Although we think that maybe he drinks too much)

Icht post y fille.  Fe os applay Heidi.

(We have a daughter.  She is called Heidi.)

Tuska mein fet gul ict zi hargen.

(Please tell her that we are well)

Icht post y corrice sorn Heidi.

(We have a message for Heidi)

Gar os varda viteria.

(It is very important)

Ista icht post antrouste bar rist chron yen.

(Something we have discovered in our time here)

Gar os da singta estvincia did desish ma claw bar issen.

(It is the one thing everyone would wish to know in life)

Icht desish icht posta.

(We wish we had)

Gar os geci:

(It is this:)

Kristen en deum zi morteus.  Pardist zi deslace.

Faist quist vose amulse. (Now translating) Tuska mein bist chilcendor.

Tuska mein estvincia.  Faist quist vose amulse. (Now translating)

Neita signifise.  Neita signifise.  Gar os varda.  Gar os frigt.


(Now translating.)


“A Layer of Clay”

A layer of ammonites

A layer of clay

A layer of cattle bones

An old staircase.

A layer of wedding rings

A layer of coal

A disused power cable

A dead foal.

A layer of maggots

A layer of anthracite

A dirty scarab

A layer of stalactites

A layer of clay

A layer of pitch black ice

Goes up in flames.

In flames.


Words for “Styne Vallis”


“Volcanoes Of Taiwan”

Our town has a twin

That stands somewhere in

A depression in south west Taiwan

It cowers in the middle

Of seven dormant volcanoes

And every day is spent waiting in fear.

Now awaiting explosions

Now awaiting explosions

And a black curtain of ash to come down

To blow in through the locks

And to stop all the clocks

Stop dead at 4.33.


“Wedding Of Weed and Dead Weed”

It was the winter the pond froze over

That they saw each other for the first time.

The whole town was on the ice

But they caught each other’s eye immediately.

It was him that looked down first.

Between his boots, a creature was trapped under the ice.

He had thought it was a toad.

They honeymooned on the QE2.

There was someone’s pile treatment in the cabin fridge

And a crack in the porthole

But neither of them mentioned it.

They got drunk on the first night

And stared down at the sea beneath them.

There were no reflections

Only a churning grey foam.

And below the green procession

The dragging bridal train

That sweeps over the ocean floor

Picking up the strays.

He had moved into new offices

When the attack came.

He fell badly

Pulling the telephone down with him.

He looked up at the office fish tank

Saw the green scum collecting there

“Must get that looked at,” he thought

As his heart stopped beating.

And above the green procession

The dragging bridal train

That brushes up against the glass

Picking up the strays.

He died before they flooded the town

But he’s down there still

Moving slowly from room to room

Calling her name

On the days when he can remember it

He’s at the kitchen window now

He used to be able to see the spire from here


Only weed.


“Revised Map Of The British Isles”


Belford West, Braxton, Burton Montis, Cold Lowman, Collaring, Cotton Abbot, Gidding Green, Grimstock, Kingswheel, Lanternster, Maynard’s Cross, Monkswood, Redridge, Threading, Tup’s Fold.

Status Pending:

Arntree, Blackreach, Breem, Brightchapel, Clampool, Glenwater, Hatchminster, Mill Birch, Oak Stepley, Perch, Pine Borne, Rice Beecham, Tone Gulley, West Stour, Whitecap.


Ashing-on-the-Wold, Budleigh, Compton Lindsay, Durden, Eldon Royal, Gregory Falls, Hardacre, Maple Cove, Stixley, Styne Vallis.


“Spore Regent”

Now send for

The Spore

To rise like mist from the ground.

Now send for

The Spore

To strike the Englishman down.


Words for “The House On The Causeway”


“Bad Slate”

Chanced on the Quarryman, down at the Crown

Had a job for me, eighty pounds

Told him, “quarrying, not my line”

Said that wasn’t what he had in mind.

Had a cove needed taking out

Gypped him good, swiped his sow

I said, “Last storm blew my roof away,

So I’ll do it for a half-ton of slate.”

Shook on it, drank to it and said nothing more

Then I slipped out, made a call

Morning, found him out on the ‘way

Gonna nail him for a half-ton of slate.


Shovel took off half his face

Went off clean for a half-ton of slate

Had my roof by the end of the week

Quarryman said, “how do you sleep?”

Said, “pretty good,” but that’s not quite true

When I’m in bed something’s dripping through

Warm and coppery onto my face

His blood coming off of those slates.


“Everything Beyond These Walls Has Been Razed”

Remember the school

The swinging tyre over the pool

Your den in the glade

The arbour where you used to play.

Remember the park

The bandstand lit up in the dark

The old carousel:

All burning in hell.

You cross the threshold the poison will take hold

Boil your bones to a silvery stream.

There’s nothing out there but mud and a nightmare,

Picked over bodies gone gleaming and green.

The water is stagnant, the land is a magnet

For everything vile, crawling, profane.

I am your father so heed what I tell you:

Everything beyond these walls has been razed.

The shale and the shell

The sails rolling over the swell

The rowboats and tugs:

All turned to dust.

You leave this attic you’ll break up like static

Particles wheeling up in the air.

There’ll be nothing left there but mud and a nightmare,

Your burning ribbon you wore in your hair.

Your friends and your teachers, the railway sleepers,

The vines and the creatures: all up in flames.

I am your father.  Please don’t go out there.

Everything beyond these walls has been razed.


“Crex, Crex, Crex”

A Tuesday in March

A heat down one arm

You’ll come down like a man twice your size, no, you won’t feel a thing.

No, not a thing.

A voice from the sedge (crex, crex, crex)

Flexes its neck (crex, crex, crex)

Telepath to your head (crex, crex, crex)

Your last moment alive (crex, crex, crex)

Your soul atomised (crex, crex, crex)

Twitching in town

You’ll gather a crowd

You’ll kick your shoes off clear into the road, no, you won’t feel a thing.

No, not a thing.

A voice from the sedge (crex, crex, crex)

Flexes its neck (crex, crex, crex)

Telepath to your head (crex, crex, crex)

Then fixes your eye (crex, crex, crex)

And dethrones your mind (crex, crex, crex).


“Mab Crease”

Widowed at 25

Mabel Crease did not cry.

Not on the day that he went to sea.

No, not on its anniversary.

Not after 2 years, not after 10,

Not after 50, not even then.

Mabel Crease did not cry

For she knew he was still alive.

Every dawn, so they say,

She walked along the great causeway.

She scanned the seas for his sail

For fifty years to no avail.

And then one day, a silver flare

A small hand mirror protruding there.

Coral handled, inset with stones

She held it up and all explodes.

The mirror in the shingle

That erased every single

Crow’s foot and line scrawled on her by time.

It did not reflect

The yellow aspect

Steeped in her eyes, her teeth and the webs

Of her flailing hands

That clawed at the sand

As she fell prone on the stones that now span

Like a vortex of seeds

Flashing and free

Black kernels of madness, unfettered, released.

That’s when she began to weep

For the girl that she’d once been

For the face under glass

And for her husband lashed to the mast.

She stared entranced and explored

Her youthful face, the tight contours.

The nights alone, the local bar:

They had not made a single mark.

But moving out from behind

Another face with blazing eyes.

With hair astir, on fetid air

It was her husband, reflected there.

And that’s when she knew

The glass was askew

And its coral frame a swift portal to death.

Her husband was gone

Gnawed-on and torn

Now afloat somewhere down

Deep, deep in the depths

A green riddle of bones

Inset with stones

Like that mirror that she tossed back into the sea

“No, no more of that”

She hissed and she spat

Into a dark, rolling coil of scree.


“The Black Cramp”

Hallway is shaking and the nails are working up through the floor

But can’t stir a hair on my head.

Off its hinges and your blood comes singing under the door

But can’t move a hair on my head.

The panels blow and then you go up in pieces and drop

But can’t stir a hair on my head.

We are rotating and disintegrating into the fog.

Then again and again I’m set back in front of your door;

I can’t stir a hair on my head.


Hallway is shaking and the nails are working up through the floor;

I can’t move a hair on my head.

The walls are pitching and the kitchen just exploded beneath;

I can’t stir a hair on my head.

And still you’re screaming and I’m screaming like I’m teeming with snakes.

Can’t move a hair on my head.

Can’t move a hair.

Can’t move.


Words for “The Widow Blades”


“Hybrium Sulphate”

One drop in water before retiring

And your sleep is unbroken and deep.

Two drops in milk before retiring

And the breathing is shallow and slow.

Three drops in ale before retiring

And your flesh hangs as heavy as clay.

Four drops stirred into methylated spirits

You sweat pitch, pass stones and fall into coma.

Dried and burned and the smoke inhaled

You throw fits, go cold and scream at the walls.

Mixed to a salve and pressed against the eyes

You weep blood, go mute and break out in sores.

As a powder rubbed onto the gums

You collapse, arch back, chew off your tongue.

But if injected directly in the crutch

You rise up, rotate and look down at yourself.

See yourself in a room at twenty years old

(Oh, let me float again)

See yourself in a garden at fourteen years old

(Oh, to be floating)

See yourself by an ocean at four and a half years old

(Oh, let me float again)

See yourself from the ceiling at twenty seconds old.


“Four And A Half Minutes Missing”

She seized up

At the casement

What she saw

Set her trembling

There was a click in her skull and a dullness descended and spread

Reeled on the spot and lowered and buckled her legs

She came down in the hallway and fell through the floor like a mist

Passed through the cellar and into the ground with a hiss

She came to

In a pasture

Two feet of snow

Just like last year

Beneath an oak

A tiny figure

So terrifying

So familiar

It outstretched a hand and began to advance through the snow

She could not distinguish the face extinguished and low

Then her blood slowed as a smile bisected the head

Four feet away and the greyness ascended and spread.


And a half


Two minutes and a half


And a half

She’s been gone for four

Four minutes and a half.


“I Will Burn For This”

That Sunday

I drank all day

With some men

I’d met on the quay.

Woke up Tuesday

One eye was swollen shut

And every bone was broken

In my right hand.

And all the buttons were gone

From the front of my shirt

And from my hairline

To my throat

Four scratches ran red raw.

I’ve got a feeling

Such a terrible feeling

That something went wrong.

What have I done?

And where have I been?

I think that when I blacked out

That maybe I hurt someone

This time I will burn

I will burn for this.

I remember a precinct

There were flashing lights

I think that I hid in a doorway

And I was shaking all over

Why was I shaking all over?

What have I done?

And, oh God, where have I been?

I think that when I blacked out

That maybe I killed someone

This time I will burn

I will burn for this.

I will burn for this

(You will burn for this).


“Horse Murders”

It limped into the yard and dropped

Dropped and shook once or twice

Kneecap sheared clean away

Forelegs broken and splayed

A child could never do this

A woman could never do this

An animal could never do this

Only a man

Now furtive in the trees

(his breath comes fast)

A sheen upon the brow

(a heat at throat)

Hand working at the handle

(won’t be long now)

The other upon the sheath

(I think it’s time)

A child could never do this

A woman could never do this

An animal could never do this

Only a man

A sick pendulum keeping time

(the strokes come fast)

A pulse going at the groin

(a heat at throat)

Knife flays the flank so easy

(won’t be long now)

It’s been sharp for weeks

(I think it’s time)

A child could never do this

A woman could never do this

An animal could never do this

Only a man

Only a man

Only a man.


“They Likes To Sleep Soft”

Don’t let them know

You know

Or it’ll be the high room for sure

The room with the twine

And the cracked melamine

And the straw on the floor

And nothing will change

They’ll come just the same

Only worse than before.

Because they likes to sleep soft

In our larders and lofts

And they likes to creep slow

From your cold chimney holes

And they likes to play hell

Down the old covered well

And they likes to blow sparks

From your bottles and jars

And they

Say it’s for your own good

Well, they would

They’ve never see what you’ve seen

They’ve never had them perched

On their shoulders like a curse

Curdling their minds and their means.

Because they likes to step light

When they pass you at night

And they likes to breathe slow

With a high rising note

And they all hide their face

When they pin you in place

And the use all those words

You’ve not heard used before.

Don’t make a sound

They mustn’t know

We’re here

You see

They likes to sleep soft.



I think it was when

She began to talk of being cooped in

So she started at the tannery

Working the hides off the meat

Said she loved the camaraderie

And the noise from the big machines

I am a plain man

Plain as a pebble, yes I am.

Then my life froze

Froze like it had seen a ghost

Upon the jangle of her keys

Our house it dropped by ten degrees

She came home with a smell on her

A smell of sweat that wasn’t hers

I am a plain man

Plain as a blade of grass, I am.

The night she was late

I broke through the tannery gates

Under the smell of hair

I caught their scent upon the air

The moonlight poured into a nook

Picked out a hammer on a hook

I am a plain man

Plain as a glass of milk, I am.

Behind a vat of slops

At it like a pair of dogs

Then she saw me

Maybe for the first time in weeks

I worked on them ‘til it was dawn

Then I worked on them some more

I am a plain man

Plain as a pane of glass, I am.

I am a plain man

Plain as a pane of glass, I am.


“The Mounds”

And down around the mounds forlornly

Her words fall spent into the snow

Tiny wings freeze on the instant

Tiny chambers slowly close

And there atop the highest mound

A ring of scorched and perished ground

Upon which no snow finds purchase

Nor brethren there to join in purpose

Within the circle bends a hollow

‘Til the ground caves clear away

To caverns wet and streaming death

In rivulets to poisoned lakes

Now down a vine rimed crisp with ice

Hand under hand, into the vaults behind

Through shimmering and heated climes

Thick with sulphur glow

To the base of the abyss

Vermin diving down the vine

To the plateaued precipice

Summoned by a single chime

They move as one across the hall

The widow in amongst them all

Laughing, screaming, soaring, gliding

From waking life now divided.