Iain Britton

I Hear the Music of a Donkey

This stone throne
facing the sea was made by a small man
wanting to be a giant
or else he already was and wanted to be
like myself
terrestrially ordinary for a moment

so that he could feed the seals
the humpback whales
the blue-eyed penguins
who had returned
for various reasons
to live in the sea

where their children
frolicked in the bodies of dolphins.

Climbing up amongst houses
Ferde Grofe's
Grand Canyon Suite
resonates off walls. I hear the music
of a donkey
plodding downwards

gravity's claws
pulling at his head and sack-cloth ears.

A stream has cut its name into a bank.
Stacked-up houses
peer at weather forecasts. I pass
a concrete bunker collapsing
without a shot being fired.

As I climb closer to the road
I feel a slow intrusiveness. Each
step is like a face I know. Each
obliterates the story of a man
who wanted to be a giant

wrote songs for himself
preferred his own voice
dived into the ground one day
bequeathing a cone of air space
crammed with sound.