Photo of the artist Peter Hammill

A Headlong Stretch: iii. The Twelve

Peter Hammill


The jury's out upon the matter
and they can barely bear to admit
that all the time we spend planning
in the end will matter not one whit.

Though I've certainly considered
every vital pro and con
I get no scent of an acquittal
I lose the drift..... the signs are wrong
What's going on?

(Twelve signs of the zodiac,
twelve hours to face,
the twelve disciples all aquiver,
twelve arrows strike a twelve-tone case.)

Round and round in repetition
of the flight from boredom into thrill
and all the time we're waiting on the punchline,
the hollow laugh within "we will'.

What won't we give to take up
the turning over of a new leaf?
No-one ever reaching future perfect.....
before we know it, beyond belief
we come to grief, we hit the reef.

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