The City Walls

Well worth reading

Longbarrow Press

Kipling Road 3There is nothing of sorrow here
except the dead end, its terraced shadow.

Our current Featured Poem is ‘Kipling Road’ by Rob Hindle, the first poem in his sequence ‘Hillsborough to Middlewood, February 1931’ (in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing). Click here to read the poem, and to listen to Rob Hindle
reading ‘Kipling Road’ on location in Sheffield. ‘Hillsborough to Middlewood, February 1931’ retraces the short journey between Hindle’s great grandparents’ house and the South Yorkshire Asylum, where their son Harold died; this ‘one-way journey’ is also the subject of a new essay by Brian Lewis, in which the terrain mapped by the sequence is re-walked and reconsidered. Click here to read ‘Dead Ends’ on the Longbarrow Blog.

The Longbarrow archive of our Featured Poems is now accessible via a new menu, with over 50 poems indexed on separate pages (many with audio recordings and short films). Click here

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Shopping for the cure, suddenly I stand motionless in the middle of the busy road, unable to move, in my head
I playback yesterdays news report:

“Today’s cyber doctors call it “bursting”.
A pernicious virus that renders your robot body in a permanent state
of “fight or flight”.

A glance at a daffodil, a small child
or even your own spouse will send you
into a permanent state
of what used to be called “stress”.

When cells in your thalamus detect something that requires urgent attention from the rest of the brain,
they begin “bursting” — many cells firing off simultaneous signals to get
the attention of your cortex.

Mass cells applaud
to gain your attention.
Your cyber nervous system
will respond in turn,

with short breaths,
heightened eyesight,
and a frantic facial expression.”

I see the fast cars, bikes, lorries,
hurtle towards my helpless body.

“Other symptoms,
your body may be frozen
when it walks across
a thoroughfare,
and may prove
an inconvenience
to commuters.

Cyber traffic staff
have been advised
of potential glitches.

Patches to put on
your artificial skin
to reduce these symptoms
are under rapid distribution
to local shops.”

When clapped tongues of bells

lessons end,
end of play,
schools out,

scream and shout,
and run about,



to be young.

Old wants “Quiet!”

Summoned by bells,
clang of tongue a monastery
meme, a call to prayer

is a call to latest competency tests,
how to fail better,
head down and wish
you had the answer

to your mother’s needs,
your father’s wants,
“We just want you to be happy!”