‘and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence’
— George Eliot, Middlemarch

Dead dandelions, bald as drumsticks,
swaying by the roadside

like Hare Krishna pilgrims
bowing to the Juggernaut.

They have given up everything.
Gold gone and their silver gone,

humbled with dust, hollow,
their milky bodies tan

to the colour of annas.
The wind changes their identity:

slender Giacomettis, Doré’s convicts,
Rodin’s burghers of Calais

with five bowed heads
and the weight of serrated keys . . .

They wither into mystery, waiting
to find out why they are,

patiently, before nirvana
when the rain comes down like vitriol.