If the crowd would just look up, they’d see
the angel with the buffed gold clarion,
whose call to arms is so pristine
and incorruptible, better than ears,
like the Latin angels speak in.
But the soldiers, their wives and ma’s,
sweethearts and bairns, are still
obedient to these
soundless notes – fresh-blown aureate
semibreves that settle over the seraph’s head.
A bairn’s voice finds a thousandth
harmonic with the music. Mam hears it
and fills up, thinks of messages hid in
backpacks, their notation of teary splotches
The snare drum anticipates a louder hail.
The air detunes below its lowest note
and the whole day hollows to nowt, becomes
as silent as the monument that reads,
non sibi sed, in angels’ Latin.
Jason Lytollis is a PhD researcher at Newcastle University. He has a background in teaching. His current research takes a psychoanalytic approach to featureless or unstable spaces in contemporary poetry. He has been poet in residence at Sage Gateshead and in 2016 collaborated on the Northern Landscapes project in Newcastle.