Claire Everett – UK
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.
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
*linn: a waterfall or torrent of rushing
water in a river or stream, or a pool of
water, especially at the foot of a
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
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
for my forebears, made landless