Gwyneth Lewis

Soundtrack for the End of the World

with thanks to Hugh Hunt

Promise me leaf-blowers will cut out first,
Spinning in sparkless Catherine Wheels,
Blue bottles dying. ‘Yes. Burglar alarms
Will wail for a while, calling for mates. Soon
They’ll despair. Airplanes will circle
Then disappear into spray chevrons.
Survive some time and there will be
Distant explosions exciting no panic but

     click click click of junction boxes
Counting the sins of traffic lights –
Unwatched, indifferent, in perfect sequence…

If, like me, you’ve placed your mind
In a mine so deep you can hear the hum
In neutrino catastrophes, you’ll know
There’s no silence. So, as a swallow holds still,
Hears earth roar under her breast, forcing
River droplets into her mouth, I too
Bear sheaves of insects thrust hard
Into my barely open beak
As I scream <


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