THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2005

 
Pat Borthwick
IT’S ONLY
 

The Humber sucks itself in
raising a chain of sandbanks
you could step on and across
to a greener county than this.
And be fooled.
But it’s that sort of day,
unsettled and moody
and here.
An unreliable sky.
Even the foreshore deceives,
It’s only a common brick.
It’s only some ribwort plantain.
It’s only some slack from the works,
not a discoidal knife
or a dinosaur’s scaphoid.
A castaway canon ball.
What is left of this yellow cliff
exposes tired headlines –
horseshoe tile drains and sole plates,
a jag of charcoal, a shoe.
Make of them whatever you will.
You can read all about
the English homes of the martins,
their comings and goings and gossip.
Below, broken midword, grey lips
from Roman amphorae above
asteroid belts of amber and chalk.
That trickster the Moon’s everywhere
dictating untrustworthy layers.
And yes, it’s only your covert initial
I’ve scratched among them
using a flint edge, but in truth,
I know everything’s only a matter of time
before it’s changed, rearranged,
like a glacier freeing itself, moving on

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