Go deeper and you’ll find the old temples,
Overgrown, reclaimed, garden centres now, flats.
The last notice for a dance social
Flutters tatty in a stirring wind.
In museums they preserve the old rags and pamphlets,
Kept behind glass, free from forgetting,
Tin tracts rescued from trees, the sin of rage,
Babies bibs, cold hearths and cut ecstasy.
Listed and in context, the listless
Visitors shuffling through exhibits,
Though the empty caravans and electric cookers
Say nothing, confounding reason or empathy.
Perhaps they’re out there now,
With the Lone Walker and Prester John?
Orphans of the angry God,
Somewhere, out there, on the ice.
Bio: Hugh Odling-Smee was born in Belfast in 1973 and works as an arts manager in the city. His poems have been published in The Glove Magazine.