A Guardian of Preston

The Guardian, The Wildwood Tarot









It stands at the gates of death,
bone-worthy skeleton

at entrances to tunnels and crypts

with hollow eyes and glaring nostrils,
long arms and stiff vertebrae.

The slip of its pelvis moves silently
with every one or two steps.

It greets me in darkness.

“Do you want knowledge of the void,
why this city sucks all effort into itself
down priest holes in catechisms
to the lands of death?”

I cling onto trees and mossy roots in memory.
There is barrenness where green withers
and only stone or bone flayed
to its barest remnants knows the secrets of survival.

“Do you want to become gnarled fingers,
grey and twisted scapula, a ribcage without a heart?”

I think of the ringway,
its exo-skeleton
and pair of snapping jaws
eating every car and depositing them
in the darkness of its cave.

I want understanding
but only the dead understand
unwalked roads and flashing traffic lights.

I ask “is this the only way?”

Its bones are silent,
incomprehensible as carparks
where churches once stood,
communities and their graves.

There is no riddle. No solution. No easy way.

Preston Ringroad









Each time I have done a reading with The Wildwood Tarot asking for guidance or inspiration in relation to Preston I have drawn ‘The Guardian’ card. I wrote this poem to explore its meaning.


6 thoughts on “A Guardian of Preston

  1. Beautiful. My grandmother is a well known poet in Ontario. I never really enjoyed poetry until my 94 grandmother, who has lived alone way up North in a small A-frame cottage writing and living in her small town of 500 people, was told she couldn’t go home from the hospital. She has to go into a nursing facility and sell her home. she’ll be moving closer to us, at the border but we had to clean out her home and I was given a collection of her books and others I didn’t know she was interested in. I started to read her poetry and knowing what I do of her past, it’s beautiful. The way she expressed the tragedies of her life and I began to pay attention when I read poetry. It’s an expression, like mine, it’s an art form and it’s beautiful.

  2. I really like the way you have woven the image of the card and what you see and know of your landscape and cityscape. You are clearly learning your area, its past stories and legends, and making new poems and stories from them, which is wonderful.

  3. I like the analogy how we as humans are fresh flesh and natural outside but a skeleton inside, visible (without xrays) only when we die decay. But this civilization is like a visible exoskeleton visible now like the “living dead” with a barely beating heart still alive inside….

  4. Poetry as divination! If the images from the tarot pack can lead us to deeper into the wisdom we are seeking, so too can words, not so much as tokens of exchange with things in the world (though they must do this too) but, as here, as signposts at the threshold of significances beneath and beyond the everyday perceptions of things in the world.

  5. Charlotte

    Powerful poem!!! I also get a reverberation between The Guardian and the persona……as if “The Guardian” is initiating you into become like him/her, not in the sense of becoming a skeleton (god forbid), but that through your poetry, you are becoming one of Preston’s guardians too.

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