Vincent Clay


Cave de Predil

Many things can happen under mountains

– we have mainly done extraction.

Men are put in to take things out,

they need to eat and drink

pray God and play with girls.

A town grows up and children grow up in it.

While richer men finance     wider roads and bigger machines,

bars get filled and vino is swilled

bad men pick fights, good dinners are expected on tables.

Houses built are regularly painted,

bright colours pattern the walls’ corners to repose

in Alpine sunlight, or relieve

mountain gloom.

People live in the rooms and town is full.


Then less is needed:

with taking

the things that are wanted get scarcer

and are more economical to get at elsewhere.

The hard work of men in mines

and the attendant employment of those who do not go beneath the rock

– these lessen

and all can be more given to pessimism.

On the steep faces of declines,

the visible sites of action once filled with meaning

will now more often be read as scars.




Between places where we spend nights,

we drive in Cave de Predil.

I see kids in the shade, chatting and kicking trash,

beneath big walls, a large hall with all its eyes smashed in.

A simile presents itself:

The jacket that wraps a thinning, aged man

that will never fit again –

Yet the isn’t right. That man will die, there is

an ending defined, rather than a fading.

Instead, these kids will later leave this shade, these peeling walls,

and take their years elsewhere.


In a car, passing in daylight

all is at its bland anticrisis pitch.

Tracks and yards awaiting graft,

grit cast in still flats

amidst this land’s tall fascias of gray:

a blind calm habitat

living straight in a critical grip.


In tick-tick, tick-tick,

This visit will drift.

Its strict fix in mind will slip.


In fini, this: I is tiirist pissing thrigh.

Ths twn: nftr.