DePfeffelschrift PAGE TWENTY-ONE : Bob Cooper

Commuters and Icarus in the Brexit Snowstorm
a poem grounded in W.H. Auden’s Musee des Beaux Arts 

Beyond Seacombe Terminal’s high-reaching arch snow falls 
silently, large-flaked, through every streetlight’s glare 
but it does not concern them 
                                              though Pieter Bruegel notices 
from beneath his broad-brimmed hat how it touches 
umbrellas, beanies, hoods above head-bowed faces, 
of those who don’t look up when a young man flies past, 
flaps his slow wings, loses height, reaches the Mersey  
or hear his wail before he hits the black water  
then soundlessly sinks 
                                     but Pieter Bruegel recognises 
the end of this aspiring high-flier matters 
because, about economics they were never wrong, 
those distant offshore investors, who told everyone 
they should, or would, or could believe in sunlit days 
and ignore fears that snow will make wings too heavy 
to carry anyone far  
                                so Pieter Bruegel watches  
those who don’t notice as they shuffle in the queu
the pavement and road now resemble a shroud. 
Snowflakes stick to eyelashes, melt, people blink   
as they long for the bus to offer them noise and warmth  
away from what they don’t know has happened, 
what will make grief rise up in someone like them, 
when one knows  
                            what Pieter Bruegel knows 
when he’ll paint what he’s seen as if it happened 
at mid-day in sunlight and somwhere else. 

Bob Cooper lives on The Wirral. This year, his poems are appearing in Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Orbis, High Window, The Waxed Lemon, London Grip, and Ink Sweat & Tears. His last Collection, Everyone Turns, was published by Pindrop Press in 2017.  


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