Poem: Alasdair Gray © 2005



Looked at from mountain tops and history books
cities spread and flame,
crowds oppose crowds and beget crowds.
Nothing distinguishes man, woman, son or daughter
though sometimes on scaffold or balcony appears
a tiny criminal or legislator
above processions as featureless as the water.

In a room a man sits pondering a debt he cannot pay.
A small boy plays with bricks beside the man's feet.
Nearby a woman mends a shirt, smoking a cigarette.
A clock ticks. A cat sleeps by the fire.
There is noise of brawling from the street.

Crowds thrive and decay on the disastrous horizon.
History forms and breaks like
.............................clouds there, repetitive and sublime.
Near at hand disaster is faced, absorbed and passed on
one moment and one life at a time.