Howard Firkin
(the smell of nothing)
It’s rubble now. The thousands of our hours,
our carving, painting, setting glass—a slew
of rubbish for the peasants to pick through,
and steal the shards of treasury once ours,
once raised and dedicated to our God.
Odd remnants of the walls still stand and trace
our grand design, our folly, our supreme
co-work, the realising of that dream
that tortures and sustains the whole, sad race;
it’s rubble now, and turning into sod.

Sod all. The all that’s always left us: nought,
the nothing, zero, cipher, zip, the blank,
the everything that we were ever taught
or learnt. Who ever guessed that nothing stank?