Friday poem: 'Google Earth' by Paul Farley

04 July 2014

This week’s poem, ‘Google Earth’ by Paul Farley, explores new ways of looking at the world around us. Farley’s poetry frequently brings to our immediate attention things previously hidden – despite often being right under our noses.

Look out for his distinctive poetic gift: the effortless switch. Here we see him move between the virtual and physical world, ‘there are never clouds because the west wind of the Internet blows silently down lost bus routes’; and the present and the historical past, ‘I'm a balloon by Odilon Redon. And now my chute snags up on power-lines’.

Farley’s fresh and original vision always leaves me elated; I hope he’ll do the same for you.

Sarah, Picador poetry editor

Google Earth

Now I’m a hand setting the globe to spin,
finding a country, starting to zoom in
now I’m an eye. Now I’m a meteorite.

The scars of business corridors, the white
clay works, national parkland, estuaries.
A refinery built from Camemberts and Bries!

Now I’m a hand again, steadying my fall,
steering by starlight on the ground, black holes
of reservoirs, flight paths of major roads.

Now I’m an eye and there are never clouds
because the west wind of the Internet
blows silently down lost bus routes, birth streets,

the school roof still in bad need of repair,
the swing park all deserted at this hour,
which is no-hour. Now I’m the midnight sun

lighting the places where we’ve been and gone.
The ground comes up. A field sharpens to grain.
The trees screw into leaf. Now I’m a drop of rain.

Now I’m a balloon by Odilon Redon.
And now my chute snags up on power-lines.
If we looked outside, eyeballs might block the sun.

Even above the lake isles of Lough Gill,
Adlestrop’s dismantled barrow, a hill
on the road north of Poughkeepsie, there are eyes

now all the world’s a drop zone of the mind.



‘Google Earth’ by Paul Farley is published in The Dark Film.

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