I seem to remember I might have promised (or was it threatened) some more poetry. So here it is, another piece from my sojourn down under, inspired by a monstrous vehicle that trundled past me one day while I was walking to the beach. I didn’t have the presence of mind to whip out my camera and take a photo of the actual, offending vehicle, so the one in the picture is the best I could find some days later (not nearly as large, imposing or frightening as the original subject). Brace yourselves…
The Devil Rides Ute
There is a roar that cannot be purely mechanical;
A grating, rattling, rumble that could come from the belly of a dragon.
It shakes the ground, drawing out a terror presumed long dead.
From out of the subconscious, a materialisation of primeval dread,
And my mind slips, desperate for recognition,
Not wanting to acknowledge this ghoulish apparition,
So paralysed with fear, I can’t turn my head,
Until the monster is almost upon me,
And I’m engulfed in an acrid, black fog,
That chokes, and reeks of generations long dead.
And through the dark, cancerous fumes the monster forms,
White-black, with a presence larger than its worldly size,
White chassis, seen grey through the gloom,
Trimmed all around by black;
Black grill, black glass, vertical black exhaust,
Pumping translucent black fumes into a blue sky,
Black bumpers and bars, black tyres; black heart,
The creature moves slowly; in a world apart,
Floating, not rolling, on black wheels as tall as a man,
Or perhaps just as tall as I feel, shaking as I am with confusion,
Disoriented by this frightening intrusion,
Fearing death, overcome by strife, wondering;
What devil rides inside this affront to life?
More menacing still, unseen behind black glass,
What human mind could conceive to ride inside such a threat,
Such a provocation, that causes others to
Regret the invention of internal combustion?
The thing glides on, out of time, in eternal slow motion.
Four round black pall bearers hold aloft the metal coffin,
And I can’t escape the notion
That inside, at the heart of this infernal din, deep within,
Is no man like me, but a destroyer of life,
A catalyst of eternal strife,
Who cannot begin to see the beauty of nature.
It passes by, rumbles on, this harbinger of death,
And noise and smoke, and fear recede,
While for as long as I can, I hold my breath,
Waiting for the air to clear before, once more, I breath.
The title is a reference to a novel by the author Dennis Wheatley, once famous (though now largely forgotten) for his steady output of occult thrillers. ‘The Devil Rides Out’ was perhaps his best known.
It feels as though I’m developing a poetic style. I like poems that have rhythm. I’ve thrown in quite a lot of rhymes, but loosely, carelessly; almost at random. Re-reading it through in my head, it sounds as though it’s begging to be read out loud. I can imagine it being performed by one of the punk poets in a dark, beer-infused underground venue. Ironic really, as I’m more your quiet, introverted type. Maybe there’s something about myself I don’t know… I enjoyed my excursion into poetry, but I’ve put it aside for now to continue work on the novel, which is coming on well – I’m not far away from a final draft. Drive carefully now…
Note: Poem and sketch ©Graham Wright 2016