At the Telephone Line Inspectorate
a man whose face was frozen with the taste
of rotten cooking apples looks appalled
at his not–so–shiny ageing tidy table
where lies a photo: Scottish mountainside
a hill with ice where water once had falled,
an open loch with waves which would enable
an early morning mist to softly rise,
a pair of peaks standing strongly over sea
and isles afar: making for a vision
to inspire a photographer’s delight;
or thunderstorms punching with the sea
at the stolid, stubborn fixed decision
of cliff to arise from water’s darkened might.
He grabs the phone, and, at the third attempt,
gets another sour face little man
sitting in an ageing mourning suit.
saying: “These pictures from the road which you have sent
must be dealt with; now, we have to plan
to wreck the beauty on this fearful route
with pylons for a line to anywhere:
a phone box on a beach that’s never used,
a wire to a house that might one day be built.
Where the cables go, I couldn’t care
just so long as things outstanding are abused,
and this balance is destroyed with visual silt.
For when there are no good things to describe,
the best is nothing more than mediocre,
and there is no beauty anymore
then there can be no one to deride
us as bureaucratic, as if we ever were.
We’ll make all men like us: paper thunder bores.”