Hilltop Press Catalogue 2011 and Science Fiction Poetry - Introductory Factsheet by Steve Sneyd Steve Sneyd Delves Into the World of Ghosts of the Fens Steve's Epic Crowland Poem The Poetry of Brian Aldiss by Steve Sneyd
Steve Sneyd Snarls in 1989!

The Triangular Bridge in Crowland, photographed by Peter Rance
Triangular Bridge, Crowland


By Steve Sneyd

threeway bridge trapped on dry land twisted distorted
river moved away eastward straightened taught
to be tame raised above land
penned in & left its twisted distorted
bridge had aped it bridged its
stranded here behind

about foor slain at altar praying
no time intent perhaps to run
Theodore skull no jaw tiny malevolent look locked
chesthigh disregarded in
glass box in room in tower of abbey
and visitor handfull much closer drawn to
how you'd look for ancestor kin in old uncaptioned
album blowup illos of time of Guthlac's marshland demons
described as come pestering trying failing
to get him out of here leave them alone again
"blubbery lips, fiery mouths, scaly faces,
beetle hands, sharp long teeth, long chines
or backbones, hoarse throats, black skins,
hump shoulders, big bellies,
burning loins, long tails at buttocks,
bandy legs, cloven hooves"
Guthlac having disposed of these
with his scourge their ability to speak
in nights as if dreams to taunt him
Welsh no defense

his hermitage site of which now
a buttress built onto
Hermitage Chapel after he built hut on
site of ancient burial mound dead could be
treated as foundations being
unbaptised before his time
and in its turn great abbey church'd
been in Civil War gun fort
debris ruin being before their time
useful though raw
material of defense and now to see
Holy Shipwreck with so much stone stolen
of church one aisle roofed still
for local worship and for visitors
to come to ignore the skull to
stare at celebrity
pictures the demons life in them
eyecatchers TV presenter style
middle nave huge roofless space a
kind of upside down swimming pool
all water'd made island of
place once now looking
to be hung overhead
other aisle all but gone to ground
huge tidy
graveyard town one side manicured pasture
other smooth as golfcourse as bowling green
wilderness much deeper into past than
Francis Money and Louisa Boor under their stones

nothing no feel of fen of island
only even great church shrunk
feel and lowness of houses even more
as squashed under
sky heavy heavier on roofshoulders
pulled down their lower parts their cellars
basement roots into
beneath this world lost waters waiting
darkness scourged twisted strange
deep tongues howling
doubtless just that prestorm
air's crackling tension's image-shaping odd
feel walking again pointless over bridge
over dry waters of waking sleep

back at bus shelter bike propped at it
foreign sounding cyclist oldish littlish darkish
sounding maybe Portugueseish odd word he
got in edgeways to younger bigger guy
in shelter talked to/at him
saying a travelling man
back broken accident hips smashed up come for money owed
on farm and now cdn't wait to get back to Peterborough
away from
fens inbred had he pulled me into
audience had
we heard how
round here
school athletics team picked on definition of a twelve year
old virgin girl could outrun her uncle
and when bike man got back on gone
explained presence here
self again to me
back see one reason only
for last wage from farm
where accident no compensation
grey over gold as battlefield gunsmoke closing in
preparing attack on flatland tank country
harvest underway and heavy weight full halfdome sky
on bus back and on that harvest would be spoiled
as if still mattered to him
and then repeated this time as if
gloat any harm come to 'em

and more jokes about Crowland frogpeople
toadpeople he said it again almost as through
bus window addressed pile-up gather of storm
their definition of
a virgin any girl could run
faster than her uncle so
is why
picked for school's sports day
on and on
obsessed with place
had wrecked him
going back to Peterborough council house
where put when
travellers had road taken off em
as this island its circling sea had lost would keep
out any thought had right
to turn folk into demons tongue by tongue

woke night rain thunder down
bit too much more cider than enough
thinking sun up just had dropped off light on
hammers hammers that rain
takes mind back again
why month months year years on flashbacks
of such things meaningless
incident place person
explaining solving nothing
stupidest of dawn alarm waiting timepassings to
think explanations solutions due to
any of anything old or new
in your box empty grinning

This poem was originally published in ENVOI.

Copyright © Steve Sneyd.

The Abbey at Crowland, photographed by Peter Rance
Crowland Abbey

Photographs by Peter Rance (1930-2001).

Born in Maidenhead, Berks, in 1941, Steve's writing, including much poetry on science fiction themes, appeared in over 1,000 magazines, anthologies etc. in many countries, and on the Internet. Collections include: BAD NEWS FROM THE STARS (Ocean View Books, U.S.A.) & GESTALTMACHER, GESTALTMACHER, MAKE ME A GESTALT (Four Quarters Press, U.K.). His work also featured on RADIO 4's STANZA. Steve lived in Huddersfield, and he founded Hilltop Press.

Steve Sneyd on the web

Steve Sneyd and Hilltop Press info
Steve Sneyd - Bibliography Summary
Articles by Steve Sneyd @ The Borderland
The BBR Catalogue
Poetry: Hibernal Cryodreams of Conquest, by Steve Sneyd and Gene van Troyer
Gnawing Medusa's Flesh: The Science Fiction Poetry of Robert Calvert

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