Jake Morris-Campbell

No-one ever plotted a course for the horizon
expecting to come back changed, yet no-one
who came back changed could explain how.

Despite claims to three generations in the grave
some doors always remain bolted.
Not all men dream of being cast as monuments.

Many more would assemble the bonfire—
snadging smoke in tendrils from the beach
giving form and relief to the dazzle-show.

All are complicit in the pageant, this story
of conquest by marionettes willing wood to stone
stone to bronze, bronze to gold, gold to glory.

Those who see how rays always stray
out from the prism understand the deception.
Repatriate the obelisks; raze these bastard shibboleths.
After Louisa Hodgson’s painting, The Collingwood Monument, Tynemouth, Trafalgar Night.

Jake Morris-Campbell was born in South Shields, England, in 1988. His debut collection of poetry, Corrigenda for Costafine Town, will be published by Blue Diode Press in November. He was recently selected by the BBC and Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) as a 2021 New Generation Thinker. He is preparing BBC Radio 3 broadcasts on arts and culture, bringing his academic research to a wide audience. A recipient of New Writing North’s Andrew Waterhouse award, Jake has contributed to a number of multidisciplinary arts projects. He works between teaching and research roles at Newcastle University and as a freelance writer and tutor.


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