Cover art by Lucienne Dorrance

About Gravity and Other Things

On the day she found out
(for herself)
about gravity and other things,
she climbed right to the top
of the bouncy hill,
over bright green tufts
of springy grass,
to where the church
still clung to the tor                
and looked out at flatlands
as far as her eyes could see.
But what was it!
that kept the cows
(chewing thoughtfully unaware)
from dropping off the world?
She giggled
at the idea of them—           
black and white comets
with udders!
spinning through space—
but was frightened all the same
and filled her pockets
with the heaviest stones she could find.​​​​​​​
The Stronger Swimmer

You were always
the stronger swimmer,                   
younger and more
reckless, taking us
further out against the tide
into a northern sea,
whilst I, your protector
battled, breathless
and weak,
to keep pace with
your bobbing pink face,
all grin and goggles,
an aquatic monkey.               

We were in too deep.
We might have drowned, and                    
they'd have trawled us from
those black waters, rotten
and fished up in nylon nets.
But the sea had already yielded
its dead for the day.
Back on the beach,                             
barefoot we picked our path
through a shoreline
strewn with jellyfish,
drying, dying
and stinking up
a summer's day.
Porthmeor Beach at Midnight

Just at the moment
we’d wished for the moon, instead
a glowing driftwood beacon
smouldered its magma-like trail
across the sand;
the smell of charcoal
carried only seconds later,
yet out of synch, all the same
with the movie of the running boy—                       
like some hotfooted Greek messenger                
he’d already lit the torch
and left us, beached
before the immensity of ocean, and
the solitary bravura of surfers
on an empty shore.
In her last letter
my grandmother wrote
in words that clambered
upwards and across the page,
finding their roots
and holding tight.
Loops led her hand
astray, yet
her hovering commas and
faint full stops
brought her fancies to ground
just long enough
to gather her very self
and to share
bittersweet lucidity
with me—
and to tell me about
the passionflowers
climbing the walls
outside her window.​​​​​​​

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