– for Ian Kalinowski
the seagulls rest like grudges on ridges
cl filament solder scar fuse last rim of light fusing :
a rivulet of milk in a crease of leather.
The Methodist church huddles the hunch
like grandmother washing lettuce,
unaware of being watched,
the arcs of mews barnacle its shoulder
pulled by, fuelled by, the fuel:
the strong-smelling lost for things,
the dead bodies lodged and rotting
between the bars of drains.
squawk their insanitary poem,
fish-wet regal throat & garble
talk about the gilded end of the gutter,
circling above the cycle paths and steel works.
back in the fen
a single tree blossoms like a belly-fat candle bunting-nest wreathes and barren fields
of abandoned outbuildings.
All there is left to take is an armful of gritty leeks
sneaked off the edge of a field,
food, otherwise, to be ploughed back in
the layers of silt, clay and peat,
revolving over years like wheels.
Hand-made house inside a home hides Rex asleep, wingback, relent, declined, alone, well-versed manual in hand, dreaming of changing long lapsing between past salads and old-age days; of warm damp spring, buzzing; the brittle in the sin of winter;
whilst the witnesses stand wishing we still had the time
to fish out a man,
save the last bog oak
or drain the fen entirely,
if need be,
if that would mean we could find him,
waiting for revival
as dark begins. Dark begins
beating the bushes,
and the animals wonder
at what point this might
become a dangerous place,
take cover, rest one eye.
Outside the empty barges are nodding
in the cold fenland night,
gently rolling their shoulders,
creaking and floating
in some secret languishing
like the limitless land of the fens
loaded with baskets, unanchored
in the lode.
Christopher Cornwell lives, studies and works in Swansea. His poetry has been featured in The Lonely Crowd, New Welsh Review, The Crunch, The Lampeter Review and Wales Arts Review for whom he also contributes criticism. He is Editor of The Gull online magazine. Ergasy is his first collection and may be purchased here and here. Christopher will be reading from Ergasy at our forthcoming event in Dublin.
© Christopher Cornwell, 2018. Image © Jo Mazelis, 2018.