THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2003

 
Caroline Price
PICNIC ON THE ROCKS, WITH FROG
  It was the last spring
though we didn't know it then
of four springs, blazing, in an almost empty
white hotel on a half-built stretch of coast:
wild flowers, a dozen tethered goats,
fragments of capitals, columns
strewn amongst ordinary rocks
and a shallow sinking of land
where the water sat, still, after last night's rain -

it was a hot day, after last night's storm
when we'd stumbled back
late, no lights again
drunk with sweet on-the-house liqueur
after another power cut, tripping
on stones, fraying ropes,
a path that was hardly a path

and they'd all started singing, one by one
joining in, a fugue
bubbling up round our feet, swelling
over the wasteland, chasing us in
to that sleepless thunderous night

before the last day
– it was the last day, clear and still
as the place where it took place, the picnic, us
on the rocks, spinach pastries, a frieze
of pale gnarled oranges

and you with your back to me
crouching over a basin of fluted stone
chapped at the lip, your hand thrust in
to rescue the tiniest creature, the nail-sized
froglet, translucent limbs splayed
bobbing on and under the water
from last night's rain -
it was the surface tension,
the care you were taking, the care
you were taking
.

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