comes from all angles.
Wherever you turn it's there
an undercurrent to the incidental clatter
of washing up, the creak of floorboards
as we pace around upstairs
a perfectionist's absent-minded drone
(I recall my father in the cellar
french-polishing a coffee table)
or maybe Mason down the road
in his milking parlour, milking
the world's cow day in day out.
It might announce itself as silence
but it's not, more a queue-jumper
barging in there first so silence
has to wait its turn.
The world's machinery tuning in
the sea's answer to whalesong
planetary throat music
some of us hear it, some of us don't
bassline in a two-tone chant
monks might perform putting their souls
at the mercy of the ineffable.
Frequency from space, round the void
and back, a wavelength dynamo
or an echo from the pleistocene, glaciers
scouring rock, continents shifting
or evolution's nerve, suggesting
what might be outside us
might be inside. Hear it?
Mike Barlow has won a number of competitions including the 2006 National Poetry Competition. His first full collection, Living on the Difference (Smith|Doorstop), won the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition and was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize for Best First Collection. He has since published two more full collections, the latest being Charmed Lives (Smith|Doorstop). A fourth collection is due from Pindrop Press in autumn 2021. He runs Wayleave Press (www.wayleavepress.co.uk), a small pamphlet-publishing venture, and is also a visual artist. You can find him here: www.mikebarlow.org.uk.