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A Hundred Gourds 5:3 June 2016

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Claire Everett – UK


Whitewater


To know its source if not its first bubblings in the dark unknown. To stand in awe at its arising, open-mouthed as it spills from the sill with a voice that out-shouts all others, yet whispers in mist and spraybows. To presume to know its course because the eye is a seasoned out-rider bound for the next blue distance. But the foot, though it tries to keep pace, is inclined to wander, to pause, to blister, beckoned by the eye's dalliance with all that is there-and-then, even as it is here, now.

ptarmigan
on white wings
the river's linn*

That dipper fossicking for the jewel of a caddisfly on the underbelly of a stone; the creamy spittle of windblown foam; a carrier bag like a blob of agar jelly, slithering the way of its deathless ilk . . . but not the kingfisher, gone as soon as it's blue, nor the fawn, swollen as the current that took it.

Few are they whose scout warns them of the weir, the rapids.

long nights moon
our family a suitcase
of broken glass


Notes :

*linn: a waterfall or torrent of rushing water in a river or stream, or a pool of water, especially at the foot of a waterfall.



The Fabric

Even as I breathe deep, I’m mindful of them. The ones for whom this was bread and butter. The ones who had to leave the very places that I hanker for. Yet I know, this is how it is and how it has always been for folk like us. A chiaroscuro of sorts. In some ways, it’s the threadbare and the careworn that let the light in, but while for some it’s a case of “off with the old and on with the new”, there are others who are so proud of their make-do and invisible mending, they never stop to consider they’re darning out the light.

Driven away, pent up in their two-up, two-downs, did they forget how loud spring could bleat? Were they so busy looking for the needle in the haystack, they could no longer conjure the scent of a new-mown day? On summer jaunts, away from the cotton mills, did they look long, dream big, breathe deep. . .

this patchwork of fields
green and gold, stitched with hawthorn
small comfort
for my forebears, made landless
by Enclosure


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