‘A certain faultless, matchless, deathless line,
Curving consummate.’ 

Arthur O’Shaughnessy, The Line of Beauty

I cast a stone into a pool;
These lines are the ripples that curve

The lines of beauty that draw the shape 
Of dead and lingering men.

The mundane and unmoving ghosts
Of a commuter’s careless glance.

Every man a new stone block
In our old castle, holding in his last death grip

His own exceptionalism.

Our daily walk’s bulwark to stem the slow
Erosion of the past’s last bastions.

Unruined Ozymandiases, buried in tides of flesh,
Not sand – the remorseful gods of a living city.

Stone blocks blocked from worship by buses
And bypassers and self-centred screenglow;

The rainstorm of crowds and modernity.
With every watery libation you grow less. 

Is this the afterlife you would have chosen?
Yourselves, your own Purgatorial mountains. 

You are the stone and unexploded shells
Of some vast dark ocean.

I see you. From your stone eyes see me,
And one day I too will wear the mask of clay.

Clay was our first flesh; let us return to it.

Meet the Poet

Daniel Hinds lives in Newcastle. He won the Poetry Society’s Timothy Corsellis Young Critics Prize. His poetry was commended in the National Centre for Writing’s UEA New Forms Award and has been published, or is forthcoming, in The London MagazineThe New EuropeanWild CourtStandSouthwordPoetry Salzburg ReviewBlackbox ManifoldThe Honest UlstermanPerverseFinished Creatures, and elsewhere. He was commissioned by New Creatives, a talent development scheme supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts and delivered by Tyneside Cinema, to produce an audio piece based on his poetic sequence The Stone Men of Newcastle. Twitter: @DanielGHinds