‘Firle Corn’ – Joseph Minden

The very best trains go fast and sometimes

dawn comes when you are on them,

sometimes part of the day passes away.


Dormitory towns were developed

to engineer demand for railway lines,

assembling sleepers close to the tracks


where I wake up in the morning in my bed

of rushes, fingering my soft collar of social

esteem, the soft colour of coral teamwork.


Like a root of a tree submerged in water

I survey my body dressed in the expanse

of southern England stretching to the sea.


Southampton dock is pink, the sea yellow,

and the sheet of metal of rivers

leaving the country like roots of trees.


There are countless trains moving across

the miniature landscape carrying

huge populations, passing thru water,


major stretches of marshland, reedbeds,

new shallows over sandy or chalky soils,

always with benign lights as their eyes.


There are my favourite parts of the coast,

the islands: Sheppey, Thanet, Portsmouth,

covered with their medieval architecture


and the tiny, blinking lights of power stations.

Everywhere, water is at the surface,

euphoric, turquoise, standing water,


the vibrating eye close to the pane

surveying the floods, down among the reeds

and rushes, the roots of sunflowers


floating on rafts in Lake Chernobyl.

The sky is coming into the world

thru pools in the bed and I look down


across my body, covered in earth,

to see horses at the mirrors,

rooted like narcissi. I love England


with a real love from a picture

of a farmyard, a bedtime story,

bramble and the big storm.


Hello, Bramble. I know that we are

supposed a dull and sluggish race.

One train by my knee, Ditchling Beacon,


comes to rest at Hassocks Station

in a great plane of placid water,

which reflects my eye as though


it were a pane. The goose,

the depth of peace in the pool,

the hen, and the lamb, rain,


throwing punches thru blossom

into mirrors like the screen

a transparent picture a window is.


Joseph Minden’s poems have appeared in The Rialto, Blackbox Manifold, Tears in the Fence and elsewhere. Micrographia, a collaboration with composer Laurence Osborn, was premiered by The Riot Ensemble in 2016; his first pamphlet, Soft Hans, was published the same year. He sometimes appears in the videos of artist Kat Addis. 

 ‘Firle Corn’ is featured alongside two other new poems by Joseph Minden is Issue Seven of The Lonely Crowd.

© Joseph Minden, 2017. Image © Jo Mazelis, 2017.