“Flumes of Clay” 5-6 October, 2005
I went down to the river -
River? No bigger than a stream,
but heading for the sea -
And stood, in wellies,
in the centre.
My beautiful [now] teenage daughter and I
had stood and watched the water
here, between our feet,
when she was safely in the backpack
tugging at my ear;
And on the rising sandbank in the middle later,
in her own pink wellies;
And then she and her little brother
over many years
of sticks and stones and water.
Random bits of plates and crocks
worn smooth by tumbling, time;
and devil’s toenails, from that time
when all of this was sea,
the rim of an old white pot
stuck up from the sand;
There were cows in the next field, the same
herd, but generations on,
that used to crowd the wire fence
when Enla was young:
She called and they came.
The broken pot was
Stuck; I dug with my hand –
flumes of clay –
And out came entire a stoneware bottle
Settling in my hand
From the beginning of the last century,
as if it belonged.
When the war that emptied these fields of men
Was freshly over, filled with mineral water then,
Now with sand and mud.