Ode to a Brick

Thou pocked and russet prince of othogonality,
Rugged metric of all things that man is measure of.
His perfect, callused handful of fixed immovability.
Dry unit of space contained, withheld, divisive.

Oh, self-contented volume, be fruitfully arranged
In rectangular assemblage, with some gaily clinking
Portion of thy myriad brethren. Be aligned and piled,
Contiguously, edge on edge and point on point,
Into high, impervious structure.

Be made fast and still awhile, in zigzag bonded,
With that first and worst of civilisation´s
Life-despising plastics, Rome´s enduring curse,
Hideous concrete.

Demarcate, heroically if possible,
But ignominiously if needs be,
That which is inner from what is outer.
Hold precious and detached,
From the wry and obstinate world,
What has been vouchsafed to you as interior.
Dismiss, with haughty emphasis,
The limitless wilderness of untamed exteriority.

Having been made thus strong and tall,
Let us then enter into the space that you embrace,
And dwell, and work, and talk, and dream,
And otherwise conduct ourselves,
Within the unflexed confines that you express.

Discrete, at last, from tawdry nature´s gaze.
In control of light. Able to grow private faces.
Enjoying deluded relief from weather and history.
Transmute our rude, animal vigour,
Into restrained, domestic polity,

Remain hard for us, that we may become
Softer and less harried by the sharp corners of the world.
Grant us a hundred tiny, new freedoms for each
Of the larger ones we abandoned,
Having moved inside your ambit.

Shelter us, in muzzled ignorance, until
Inevitable history comes by to topple you upon us,
Whether with sudden bomb and grand effect,
Or slow despair and niggardly entropy.

Then lie, aghast, heaped chaotic, disarranged.
A dispiriting blight in the sight of passers by,
Except for the small boys, who with sling and stone,
Will make unforgettable adventures,
´Midst your dusty world of weed ragged rubble,
In their brief but endless, shining summer epochs.

Till at last, shovelled, reclaimed and resurrected,
You are once more stacked, aligned and piled,
Contiguously, edge on edge and point on point,
In the cause of a fresh, new, purposeful containment.

Copyright © John Ferngrove 2009