(photograph by Ian Seed)


The man emerges from the forest into a dewy field. He’s dressed in a coat which has long since lost its colour. The sky is for the moment clear, on its way to becoming bright. After a walk across fields, he comes to a cottage. The man’s hungry, cold, but afraid to knock. What kind of greeting, if any, will he receive? Perhaps further along there will be other houses around, and he will be less afraid.

So he walks down a steep narrow road, at the end of which is a cluster of houses.

He decides not to beg for something to eat and drink, but instead pretend he only wants to ask the way to the nearest town. Then they might understand and invite him into the warmth of their home.

Oh, but then he will have to talk and explain who he is, but this he has forgotten, and is afraid to discover.

He comes to a bus-stop and feels in his pockets. A few coins. Perhaps enough for a bus to somewhere bigger, even a city. But there will be so many like him in a city.

Now the bus is here, its doors are opening. The driver is asking him where he wants to go. The answer will come to him, it will come to him.

Ian Seed @Shadow2train ‘s collections of poems include New York Hotel (2018), Identity Papers (2016) and Makers of Empty Dreams (2014), all from Shearsman. His book The Thief of Talant (2016) (the first translation into English of Pierre Reverdy’s Le Voleur de Talan) is published by Wakefield. New York Hotel is selected by Mark Ford as a 2018 TLS Book of the Year.