Home » Issues & Poems » Issue Twenty Five » PATTERN SHOCK


Mark Dickinson

‘Pattern Shock’  andBit/Maps’ (published in Long Poem Magazine 23) were originally one work, although ‘Bit/Maps’ remained consciously and technically uneditable. In early 2018 they were separated into two pieces, a concern in part over the loss of emotional intensity due to duration. From 2018 – 2020 ‘Pattern Shock’ went through a process of editorial adjustments, mostly slight, to maintain the kernel of the original.  The poems originate from various intimate encounters given in the Latin, and from this node comes a series of meditations and perhaps, what Robert Duncan may have termed, derivations. I feel they are also an entangled elegiac series of love notes, lyrically rubbed against failings. Theodor Adorno stated ‘There is no way out of entanglement’,  and entanglement  both positively and negatively is what I find most rewarding in writing, the risk at work in the net of engagement, the catastrophic and beautiful relatedness, where a myriad of new attachments can form free from resolution. Writing does not come easily, I’m often in chaotic states of unrest, and it is difficult to find the quietude of mind to write carefully, considerately and compassionately, in mind of damage and crisis, yet able to pierce through hurt, envy and spite, to stretch beyond circumstance, beyond self and to look outward into a wider community of species, while remaining true to a lyric-thrust of rolling stresses and to the value I place on sound.     



(Fulmaris glacialis)


Love gapes—rubbed into emptiness, where the narrowing whiteness peels, rinsing the plexus at a verge of microns, reflecting so closely the pivoting feathers near the calm fidelity of touch.

Seeing how the stiff wings share on horizon but steer the void. The tide cohabits with latent tri- esters; abbreviates in quiet. How land devoutly shelters through bare depressions the medicine of its distempers. 


Red Gape

(Cepphus grylle)


Tracing movements of water through the quiet rocky islands where indentations speak, as the wind strengthens and the waters presence regales the night. Even event switch prays uneven, where storm-splints-lullaby navigates the seep of the same shored orison.


Open Country

(Circus cyaneus)


In a pre-thicket edged by selection we breathe the numbing distance of late autumn rain where the harrow fells seem to carry us down. Among the desperate acres the empty voyeur puffs at the wind, tempting enough to follow. “There’s so much in the weather.”  Spectres rush like air, picking a pass through fields to field.


Holartic Clade

(Corvus corax)


The Northern sky seems darker than usual, and the triumph of the darkness seems prehistoric with turbulent regressions. In the gloom of stress every instinct descends in to the Mito-chondrial, and every word seems fitted like feathers around the throat. In a deep bowl made of twigs and sticks resting on a defenceless ruin, importance is represented by the ultimate end.

Between the Lores

‘His eye is on the sparrow’

(Passer domesticus)


A small tree frequented with an additional i, where the caesura appears suspended between faith and thought. The circadian rhythm of activity is distributed among the worrying macerations of incarnated particles. Each sentience participates within a period entraining a sink. Once discovered, each sentence requires the addition of further thought. There is a cycle of light and dark and perhaps everything is threatened. The pine cone is a small endocrine among dynamic structures and not one of them is forgotten by God.


Wintering Grounds

(Limosa lapponica)


Cast back to zones of benthic infauna, gathering heart & mouth to the burrowing foot close to the anus in the grey-brown winter. Settling is risk, where loop requires trading from the sori, which liberates under a blue light, as the microscopic flocks the coast.



(Pagophila eburnea)


Leucistic remembrance declines with light toward the tender and frail, melting the familiar touch of a winter kindled in love.  Seeing the sweetness of light and elegance issuing from a heart among declining ice where the sound of faults becomes over-sad, and may grow greater. Moss, lichens & seaweed, Love attending the errors; the strange melt sliding into the silent.


Radical desire

(Phalacrocorax aristotelis)


The advection of the infinite transports with bulk motion the object of the primitive enclosed within soft opacities clouding the cornea. Whether to negotiate the outward complexities or seek between the brilliance falling through the gentleness of a veil, even in outline the unthinkable forms in a space where the wind drops. In the realm of silence the symbol becomes impossible to speak. Perhaps in finitude of day’s horizon, perspective recovers the infinite recurving from sheer perplexity.  


Luminous darkness

(Vanellus vanellus)


The cloud conceals the incomprehensible behind the visible. Toward the invisible, approach speaks of a light trailing the broken. When history comes of age, universal truths anchor the extraordinary; hearing that the dark will speak of the light. Movement is [in] tension │where darkness, with intent, keeps them apart. In the darkness of night, feeling a presence, the crested plumes thread with equal care through coastal meadows.


At the state of the perfect

(Haematopus ostralegus)


How to approach the glorious or near the gentle situation, where embraces transform with great care, announcing low over the water, resisting threats or the violation of dignity.

How to read aloud or in circles held forwards and downwards. What is beautiful and various incline the gaze almost to torment. It is this night and purgation, thirst shouting to be heard.  The pathless heights strange and remote settle like plovers.


Repugnant to accommodate

(Gallinago gallinago)


Imperfect affliction giving a note of violence flies away and finds no sweetness. On entering the narrow the inward darkness takes no pleasure from the trailing edge of snow. During the winter goodness works passively to go back home.  Playful scars distort the wilderness. Divinity hides in the vegetation and is active at night.  The crossing can be understood in many ways and also has a silent display. Whole events impact the field in a parody of likeness. Let it suffice to describe with imperfections.



(Columba livia)


Stretching foam to spin among the heavens where light’s myth forms its stretches denting the eye along the ethics of matter back to a love of intricate echoes greying to quiet hills.


Track while scan

(Catharacta skua)


Slender wing distance to pattern shock of frigid ‘Redstart’ burning care, where mute experience neglects potassium in vagrant tenderness brittle to riot air.


As well as

(Corvus cornix)


Walks out of the still furze carrion stone its distant face couches near the sea. To break apart nothing that you fail enchants me. In flowers curled resistant brilliance. Falling apart I feel somehow. Light in the afternoon mist, trying to be awkward, where the difficult folds back its finishing touch, which notes of the hours, the furthest proofs of prayer are nervous and unanswerable. Since that time appal and smell the orchid which is looking really nice.


Another story

(Pinguinus impennis)


There is another story straining behind a ghost. Yesterday it dragged across the grass a painful memory which dismantled the sun. In the dun light starry rhythms circumvent faithless arms. Everything here is happening quietly, and is mostly imperceptible. Parasitical dreams of no ending extract the loneliness from absent feathers. Gathering a sense of love from a hole of black earth is dark, dark, and everything is leaving.



(Cygnus olor)


A thoughtless act without comparison stills the wings tracing the bones edge to the bevelled indent of love. Where a small return meaning death │ships the stern sea whets & a tooth edged clot tills the voice, dressing the mouth with empty apologies which answer the terror shaking the inside out. Crying quietly behind the broken current, under the rose of other symbols, knotted in the light of beaten skin, the boredom of detonations deface the broken lines which stammer to p r o  n o u n  c e dam age s tumbling t h rough m o u t h f u l s of  h u r t.



(Falco tinnunculus)

For Jamie Lawrence


You swallowed enough to keep from meaning beauty; believing in the emptiness of meat, showing itself in a monoxide of griefs that your spirit inhabits in the arctic black. The day is conflicting.  A melody that tastes of summer, watches you like the efforts of rain. When the image becomes too much, turn away. My veil became clear in thoughtless transparencies with indiscriminate mouse dust.



(Anthus pratensis)


Every 3 metres a post│ three strained wires│ contemplate     straining                  where eyes│ walk │mixing with the grasses │ in a field          at nightfall                        grasses│                                           almost invisible │ land        │         Sea         close enough to          touch│


With interest

(Larus marinus)


“You helped with nothing and are selfish!”; the tomatoes have Phytophthora, meaning ruin. The summer became a spring and spring was winter. The price of kerosene is 62.4p a litre (Happiness and heating are like synonyms). The price of kerosene was 51.3p a litre. If you don’t pay the balance in full, we’ll allocate the balance to the highest interest. Tomorrow will not. Please see the default section. After tomorrow I hope to be a shellfish harvester. I wrote these lines around percentages so you don’t need to pay much interest.


Change mitigation

(Calidris maritima)


The use of networks to encourage collective behaviour can be playfully dramatic, or softly so. We assign decisions to different mental accounts, ‘priming’ ‘nudges’ even in sleep. Darker than Dunlin the cupped pools tremble with glittering. This is light of the mind. The tree engages within the MINDSPACE model. Learned regarding is adapted to next time and the design of information and forms remains awkward. The grey-coloured waterside lips the beautiful, engraving the terrible with vanishing attributes. Tomorrow the sky lowers, concealing the interventions suggested here, where the sea breathes a warming homicide.


Escape response

(Aurelia aurita)


I am exhausted. Sequential hermaphrodites hang like dew free from the sensation of weight, and feel themselves among currents of misuse. Empty links of space gifted to notes of glitter sparkle the nerve-net, as gentle endeavours swim.


Reduction from the primitive

(Semibalanus balanoides)


Modifications surround a series of overlapping wonders that close when threatened. In the ocean a distant stretches across a breathing movement responsive to a broad unknown, while quietly the drifting instars moult toward complexity. There is only a trace of primordial valves on the umbones of whiteness peopled in stars. On each side of the galactic tide invisible reflections drag across my body, making two little folds of skin that burn like a comet.


 Remnant wild

(Salmo salar)


A falling river. spreads desire. moults. small ships in the night. MEAT. bringing hymns. from egg to market. through developing. Eye. mesh. alloy of netting. lash. because the maximum sustainable yield competes with Canthaxanthin. & the colour of the wild. potent. lipid. scavenging synthesis. to ease-less similes. of lab-scale. protein. whispering. post-hatch. life. drawn to unrelated questions of crystal disposition on the retina. cosmetic. transgenic marine. laid her exposure. to draw-back critically. ‘bone to the sea’-


A word of Love

(Alauda arvensis)


The hills are not irritable as crumbling promises starve among a famine of kisses, where a secrets love travels upon an old wound & beats down animal with coins, becoming the skull of failing in a forest of pieces, as every tremble spitting among the shrubs tugs and tears like a violent insult outlined by a comforting sorrow. Between gorse and the lark begging in the desert, come drink the rap of analysis in the dark mind, and hunt down a purpose because of death.


‘Sometimes we screw things up for the better.’

(Salix hookeriana)


Pissing against the wind at night without sleep burning the mouth in the garden settled for a perch. Unexpected combinations of love formless and empty batter the sky. Attachable fill hooked to a crackle switches the ecstasy to a chosen exterior breaking across the willows.


Death of a Naturalist

(Tipula paludos)


Haphazard and peculiar, hung on the patterned ceiling like a giant mosquito. Your slender form trapezes on deciduous legs, harnessed to glass \/ wings that precariously hover; your strange eyes suggesting the supernatural, peer through stages of putrefaction in search of your opposite. I watch you, late in darkness, tracing the ethics of a lifetime through abdominal segments, into those dark squadrons of headless tubes, slicing neatly, through the roots.


Micro patches

(Sagina subulata)


Unity endures its patch of habitation primed to adaptive rapidity trapped along a path, trembles through nodes of darkness, conveying sorrow toiling through love. Infinite persistence, along a graph of finite resistance – groans the thresholds network, departs to micro-patches thinning to a graft of solitude.


This with a fly in my mouth

(Drosophila melanogaster)


I’m not particularly interested in sickness or your fondness for burning animals. I do not wish to hurt you, or fill the throat with panic. Every night spaces close, cough into the edgeless pale envelopes beautifully broken against love.  Utter loneliness between me and the promise of happiness. Stillness changes the light with new forms of violence edging your mouth. I reach for another image strained through the knot-holes of the heart polished abnormally, and watch the trembling shapes the wind informs. Seated between apologies on the edge of coping, interspecific confusion moves through the grass.


Sketches of loss

(Crex crex)


Contortions of audio decentralise a careful malignant whorl at a thrust of love upsizing the slight dissatisfaction. Entrapment particulates a vein of resignation grafted to paralysis. Whole wakes of convalescence dream a century prostrate across self interest. Sketches of loss pretty with limitation mark eaves of night terraced with bias. Immunity of delectation summons the crash of tree. In singing waters a shade of fluttering is best historical; even so, I think I am startled by the relevance.


Baits of happiness

(Picea sitchensis)


Patterns sometimes seem a view of neat illuminations brittle with warming influence.  I wonder after a thousand oppositions of wakeful spite, if to know the impressions of intimacy through the interest of tensions is integral to the inter-connected systems of feeling. The copper light at work in the dun particles has charged the threnody of driftwood through its journey from tree. Defacing the fostering beams I blunt the mouth with a packet of distraction. You look at me, scattering this course filthy with eternity.


Decapitated theology

(Crataegus monogyna) 


Broken land half-frozen with permeance wet with work among Alder, the long think tuning the earth before time meant industry. Critical Birch gnawed like the zeal of  puzzles flashing the mind with reasons I can’t stop to analyse. Community of minor things, the native horizon hung in the ordinary, fall-filled with the energy of an acre. Beginning the mountain plants a spire of ponder to things, the greater need of exposures. Turn behind wisdom the burden of snow.   I know that I am laid in grass watching a lesson in leaderless frustration. Circumstance that only pines, looks toward the sky and finds it good.



(Betula pubescens)


Regrettable, dazzlement, compassion compressing submerged spaces of  supremacy. Confusing fragrance with whiteness, the ill-lit mystery cramped into a slighter shade. The original pair planting itself like logic, trailing to sing the difference; labouring against them. I am amazed, periodically, to see the character burr its surge; the driftwood logs. He became a giver, his share of September sun. I know and feel the contradiction among the debris of trees. 














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