Louth to Fulstow | Nancy Gaffield

Permissive pathways
burrow through
field after field
grain swirls
indentations
where animals
slept last night

the trail bends
to over-ripe wheat
then opens
to pasture & cattle
then further still
through rosettes of broad green
leaves rich in protein
but discarded
powerless
to resist the sun
indifferent to the constancy
of the speed of light
the tuber’s purple globes
curve above the soil’s surface
basking in the glow
of so much light

as the farms get bigger
I grow smaller
then finally free
in the space surrounding me
I am nothing
but a tiny speck of blue
in a yellow cornfield
blue the colour of longing
the sea at the edge
of the horizon
the back range of the mountains
the clouds resembling them

When people came
from the old world
to the new
they brought their seeds
plants, animals, names
failing to embrace
where they were
but gradually learning
the language of the place

               gussock, moor-gallop, piner, windin’

I press the line
a creation of geography & mathematics
marked out for merchants
& military ships
into the Wolds
extending beyond flatness
into a confluence
of surface & space
present & past
the walk an articulation
of ground               I compel
the line to speak
in real time
bringing memories
from past into present
seeing clearly now what
Larkin saw—where sky
and Lincolnshire and water meet

The mind wanders
with voluptuous sadness
the landscapes of memory
& desire
like fragile skin
so easily torn
by a thorn
terra incognita
the maps once called it
but no map reveals
all that there is
I sleep with
my head pointed North
as Clare did
towards the imperishable stars

At the end of the day
I come back indoors to
news of Charlottesville
an act of domestic terrorism
white men with torches
chanting blood & soil
POTUS says they’re
“all good people”
I cannot will not fall
into line

In the middle
of an August day
all over America
the sky grows dark
I watch you sleeping
your mouth open
in the shape of a scream
and I think I don’t want
to live in this world
anymore                something
has shifted
this is just
the beginning



‘Louth to Fulstow’ appears in Nancy Gaffield’s collection Meridian. You can order the book securely by clicking on the relevant PayPal button below.

Meridian: £12.99 (hardback)

UK orders (+ £1.70 postage)

Europe orders (+ £5 postage)

Rest of World orders (+ £7 postage)

More than 60 previous Featured Poems can be accessed via this index (many of these pages also contain audio recordings and short films).



 

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