Kate in full day in the heat of the sun
looks into the grave, sees in that unearthing
of a Roman settlement, under a stone
only the shadow of a skeleton.
Gwyn on his back in the dark, lying
on the lawn dry from months of drought,
finds in the sky through the telescope
the fuzzy dust of stars he had been searching.
Imprint of bones is a constellation
shining against silence, against darkness,
and stars are the pearly vertebrae
of water-drops against the drought, pelvis,
skull, scapula five million light years old
wink in the glass, and stardust is all we hold
of the Roman lady’s negative
in the infinite dark of the grave.
by Gillian Clarke
from New Poems
Slowly pacing the beach,
in age now not in sleep,
it’s a cemetery
but I’ve come to dig.
Gulls wailing what’s inside.
I’m alone again at night
in a waking trance
searching for that doll
I dropped, the blood-smirch
on its white wedding-dress.
My prints always lead back
to the cellar of that house.
A nine-month sentence stretched
to life on its camp-bed:
the memory condemned.
I chatted so readily then
hadn’t learnt suspicion’s martial art,
his affection the breadth of air
and hands soft as powdery sand.
Soon became my jailer, my interrogator.
Buried me under his sweaty bulk
so my frenzied fingers tried
to take flight and reach up
to the single slit of light.
Dead birds washed up with the flotsam.
by Mike Jenkins
from This House, My Ghetto