Children of the Moors by Robin Wyatt Dunn

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Children of the moors by Robin Wyatt Dunn
Illustration by Sue Babcock


Narrated by Robin Wyatt Dunn


when bones and seas
build me
I break every burial ground
for the coming wind.

I stand under the beat of the sky.
hear me,
in the silence,
covering my anus from the fluid of death,
wintering quiet
for the worlds to drip over my sepulcher,
rejuvenating the ideas in my brain.

I stand twenty meters tall, perhaps forty, if the wind is right
and the days cover me
wield me like sea waves
foam on my lips.
I step in living things.

I step in so many living things.

To find the way out.

– –

hear me
when the burial’s done
and the merchants ring bells over the hill, retreating from gravity
and I sigh.

I have been here many years now.
counting my fingers.
I still have the same number of fingers I had.
the storms are distressing in their silence;
I try not to think about it.

I stand in the heath.
In the heath.
I stand in the heath.
I stand in the heath.

I am winter, or was.
Tall and straight, a skeleton
Still with some flesh,
Hoarded and hoary,
another Satan,
eager to know,
what it is I’ve done.

What have I done?
Tell me. was it something beautiful?

All these days storm about me
over my head
over my old head.
I ring bells attached to my fingers, like Spanish dancers.
Or Hindus.
The sound is delicate and obscene in its brightness
in the quiet surround.

Who hears me now,
when all are dead?
All near me.

All past me.

still I believe my voice has a purpose
that the sky knows who I am
and the dirt.
that I am untouchable. profound, and furious.
filled with the light of the world.

I am sleeping.

In a torrent of rain.

– –

I have a season I keep inside.

I have a season I keep still inside.

For the long grave after.

For the mill and the waste.

– –

These years have been hard but I’ve kept moving.
Drilling the earth around the fences,
and checking the rooves for the mercury symbols and the proper gutters.

I won’t stay long.
I have a baby to carry.
Of mealsack and moss, sticky dirt and string.
A ball of messages urging me to get lower down in the dip
and heavehaw into the mist
to await its growth.

But I can’t bury it yet; it’s too young.
And I have work to do in the next town;
I carry it on my chest,
A hustling papoose
in the dead air
and the bright sky
shielding us from the future.

– –

I met a woman by the lake.
She looked old, but wasn’t.
Like a tree is old when a sapling.
Brown with dirt like me.
Like the old ways.
The old time.
Still menacing our circus with profound displays and matches.
But I haven’t had a fire for years.
Nor, apparently, has she.
Only her hovel, stalwart and bereft and grave,
slanted and bitter and wasped, and bold.

“Clouds up ahead,” I said, and she nodded, and I went on my way.
To the thundertown, to ply my trade.

Digging in to the gutters to get out the roots
In the warmth of the rain.

Some of the townsfolk have got a fire
And I watch them.
Bonfire games.

I sleep under the eave, watching the moon.
My child is flipping his moss around his forelocks,
trying to get into the sky.

‘not there for you,’ I tell him, but he doesn’t believe me.

– –

I’ve killed many men with my mind.
Some before they even existed.
Some after they were dead.
I still haven’t killed a woman.
I wonder if I can.

I hate the wind when it comes.
Blasts the life right out of you.
And though I’ve had it happen before,
It isn’t pleasant.
I prefer to keep the life in my socks,
For if it blows out of you,
You can still put it back in.

When I was a younger spirit,
I kept my life in my chest,
and a wind blew it a hundred miles away into the sky.
I didn’t get it back for years.

I don’t like the wind.

It makes you angry, and bruised.

Here we have tors, little rocks in the grave silence,
And I hunch under one, to catch my breath, and stroke the shade fur of my child.
I’m going to London.
In London there’s a god who spoke to me.
I am afraid.
Why must gods still speak to us men?
Haven’t they got enough to do?
I wish they would be silent.
I am silent.
Aren’t I like a god? Haven’t the women said so?
But not enough like one, apparently. Still work to do.

Perhaps I won’t go to London.
Perhaps it wasn’t a god.
Though I’d like for it to have been.
A good excuse to punish London again.
If a god opened its mouth.

“Which is it little one? Was it a god?”
The child knows it was a god.
Every fucking thing is a god.

– –

Over the river.
Into the woods.
Far silent and deep places I have no business in
I wish I could fly.
Give me a whirlpool to drip a spell under the mat of the ruin of earth
transport me
Give me a parasail and a San Diego accent
send me fire over the wind
Hurry it up.

I lean against a tree,
the child asleep,
and wonder if I will ever die again.

I can almost see Oxford now, over the hill.

– –

In the morning I go into the pub and have my lunch.
The ploughman who owns the house gives me my spirits,
plugging them into my chest
and applying the electricity
I growl out his name
to write in the spaces between clouds
and give him a penny for the sausages.

outside of oxford the electricity burns off my hands like mist
and the child glows an orb
in my pocket

how many miles is it to London?
Is it far?
Have I remembered my name?
And my axe?
Is it too far?
Who will take me when I come?
And when will I be permitted to leave again?

I wave down a cab and slide into the dark
listening to his strange music.
jazz mixed with african drums.
and a kazoo.

“he’s sleeping too,’ I tell the child.
But the child disagrees.
I meant the driver, but the child disagrees.

You can’t argue religion with children.
They’re always right.

It must be that I wish the driver were asleep.
To ease my transition into the god town.

– –

too many spirits in London.
I’m a dime a dozen
With my bones and moss.
Just another fakir fresh from the country.

“Get off the road!” a fat man shouts, from his donkey,
and I oblige him and move aside.
I don’t have the energy to fight yet.
It’s been too long.
And now I have this damned ball of hair and dirt,
moss child of my home,
to bury in London.

Won’t he be pretty,
by a newsagent’s corner,
deafening the light with his strange limbs?

– –

On the tube,
I can’t sleep
Every hour brings me closer to the center.
But I can’t breathe.
I can’t get out.
I am afraid the child will explode.
I’ll be labeled a terrorist.
A burning at the stake would be all right,
I could escape.
But they don’t do that anymore.
Lock me up.
Reeducate you.
I would stop being a spirit.
Stop dying.
What horrible things they dream up in London.

– –

Outside the tube station I find the right tree and dig a hole.
I mutter the prayers and put my boy into the ground.
He smiles at me and I kiss his cheek,
and bury him in the soil.

At the druggist I purchase two grams of solvent
for my face
to sheen off the names I have been.
I walk to the dolmen next to the church,
and crawl inside.

I am singing
to my home in the sky.

Would you like to hear the song?

Ah, I cannot translate it.
Just imagine something soft and far away
like a train whistle.

After a long time,
I am done,
And I crawl out of the dolmen,
To see my way out.

My boy will be a London man.
No fakir tricks for him.

Perhaps he will forget who I am.
Already I can see his arms thrusting slow out of the pavement,
begging alms.

I water him and bear west.
through the city to the storm
and to my birds and their memories.

I am flying.


BIO: Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in Los Angeles.