Daniel Marshall: Two Poems

Daniel Marshall has recently returned to England from Korea,  with his pockets full of a far off island’s gales; or did they follow him? From September, he will be studying for a MA in English & Environmental Studies at Exeter University. His poems have appeared in many places, including  The High Window, Riggwelter , Underfoot Poetry, Smithereens Press, Isacoustic & The Wagon Magazine.

You can find more information about Daniel and his work at danielpaulmarshall.com



Daniel Marshall: Two Poems



Sunday drizzle, mist shrouding the pannier hills
of horse-shoed, hungover Brixham
—war on the TV; charities advertising how we can help
rough sleepers.
I’ve this old life replaying.
Taking pains to augur my future from the clots in black-pudding.
Rearranging a past life’s highlights.

Afternoons wet-through with ale in 17th C. lounges, scroll leaf carpets
& windows dripping in light, motes of skin sailing fjords of sun.
Sailors & tourists eating Cornish pasties & scones, breakfasts heaving
from the plate, the fluid stomach sloshing foamy from dancing all night
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthrough the lock-in till dawn.
Post-breakfast there are promises to visit the butchers
to collect the meat, enough scrumpy
& gin to drown unpalatable ordeals.


Curtain-less windows encourage intimacy with neighbours.
The narrow streets, strangers! Some stand aspidistra as temporary sentries.
The rugged, rigid odour of thick cut bacon tickles the air, otherwise
nothing but gull-screech & fog, slow rust, lichen & moss like wind-blown cling film
—a black cat crouched on slick-black, wet tiles
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx…remembering my first winter
from home in 2010, when I found my way
through snowy hills, eked out the stomp of  a long poem
to feed me company, stopping for land-scope, green-tea to warm the numb-cold pressed
in the tips of my ungloved fingers.
Everything at that time, so rudimentary
—a single cell in which no heating came out the floor.

Gulls emerge, skimming across high tide between the reeled up sails amid
the rubbing echo of hull & prow.
There is such stillness, as if the fog were holding the shook wind & water hostage.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxOnly tungsten &
All Saint’s bells cut the inspissate fog
—a photographer I talk with on the pier privileged
by the forced myopia the fog inspires.


The matin tintinnabulation of All Saint’s
hard & obdurate,                    ricocheting
off the pastel homes tight in their crust of salt,
foregrounded furze & esemplastic moss—residential & luminous.
Wet streets, under soupy sky, gull cry & bucolic
ration of murmurs, the birling pigeons
rendering the uniform cloud.
Slate granite garden walls parceling each their property
backed or foundered on floundering, wind-hacked cliffs vined, gull nests
overlooking the trawlered bay & breakwater.

The English Channel, cold-teal; despite forbidding coldness, a sense
of its inexorable fertility
: my brother & I speak to three divers
on a pebbly shore destined for sand;
they told us about crabs as big as terriers, manta-rays, seals & dolphins
—most people we meet tell anecdotes of the time they saw
a pod of dolphins in the bay or up on Berryhead.
I go up there as the sun breaks rank & regardless
of all this sea change, no dolphins.


Note: In Daniel’s second poem, he refers to the concept of ‘hyperobjects’.  Daniel has written a brief introduction to this term, which you can read here:  What is a hyperobject?



for Greta Thunberg

‘The End of the world has already occurred’
(Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects)

She’s stifled, fidgeting in a nightmare of hyperobjects
where the future is not after the past, nor the past before the future.
Parents tell her, repeatedly ‘dream big…reach for the stars; the sky’s the limit!’
The unfathomable scale of terror, risen supernatant by this immeasurable thing looming transparent through all her waking & sleeping
—this wasn’t the dream she had in mind.

Object beyond a dreamer’s control extends the locus-thinking
affecting the fibrils of fruited truth, only we in & of & as ourselves
can feel the outline of darkness, beyond us, without                                                       us

neither truth nor falsehood lasts.

Perhaps, it might be said, the hyperobject is a fail-safe-valve
to keep what truths in line
with the primordial incest of discover & understand.

Children wake only to wake as infidels
inside the yawning hyperobject
: the same immense object, reticulate of gaps, morsels, moments, endings.
They fear the clouds as representation
because nothing & nobody
explains or shows the meaning of their nightmares.
It scales all modes of life, all spans of time.
Too big to point at. Too long to yawn without missing air.

How will the children countervail the qualia they must meet everyday
with the ambiguous gob-shite mob, bags of wind
too tactile to keep their hands off now, which
is turning the nascent future turgid?



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