Issue Three

Spring 2012


Computer Generated

There is no in the beginning,
only a name, a first entry,
written in some hamlet,
barely a place, cluster of small walls.
A Challacombe, some Smisby,
a Gringley-on-the-Hill.
What happened there?
What happens everywhere.
Mild muttering men repair
broken roofs in inconvenient winds,
pray for better weather,
love women. Places of small magics,
grandfatherly wishes.

By chance, there is a record.
By same, by grace, there is
a scrawl of the clerking cleric,
a day of marriage noted, two
whose lives were walking
distances between the fields.
Faint legible marks, but enough.
There will be your own in
archaic and ornate spelling,
scribbled to the best guess
of a man of cloth listening hard.
A Redfern or Redfan of Smisby,
Antcliff or Ancliff of Gringley,
some Rodd or Ridd of Challacombe.

Our old illiterates, they knew.
They knew amongst the first
plants of the season, the broad
or twisting blades of oat
and barley. They knew amongst
the piled peat, the salted.
But nothing of the small vastness
of computers; no inkling.
Apart perhaps from the rumoured
mind of God, omniscient
to the last ant or stillborn child.
They spoke before the age of
correct spelling, when words
walked as the vicars said,
once written, forever fixed.
And then foxed. Fixed for
the darting fingers of the
databases, the indexes of
the all-knowing search engine box.
Guess as the vicar guessed and
hear that day's ancestral voice,
near the kissing, fields ago.
Guess as the vicar guessed and
hear the only voice of Genesis.
In the beginning was that word.


Seth Crook

silver fractal