THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2009

  Jenny Morris
SIGNS
 

'If no-one comes
please take the small bell
and ring it in the hall.'

Once, this unlocked place
of refuge was peopled
with penitents
and nuns embroidering boxes.

The address of the last man
in the visitors' book
is 'The Sea Kingdoms'.

Outside, the tombstone ground
is dry baked with zigzag
fissures.

Under sycamores
the 'Deep Water' sign
of the medieval moat
indicates only a crust of mud.

In the garden of rattling seedpods
melancholy dog roses wilt.

'Please don't use the bell.'
In the church, voices echo
between sunlight
and candlelight

where a lion rampages
caught in the glass
waiting for someone to come
from the far sea.


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