When I started off on this Scotney Castle sequence I had no idea that I would be lucky enough to have Karen Dennison’s photographs in the collection. I’d asked her if she fancied collaborating and after she read the poems she said yes. We spent time wandering the grounds – Karen’s eagle eyes settling on the roots of trees that looked like woven rope, or collecting reflections from the lip of the moat.
We created a limited edition handmade pamphlet but the card I chose for the cover was too thick to staple so we ended up hand sewing them. They did look beautiful but I was hugely relieved we made so few!
A year later the text gave itself to a different story, one that found its voice and momentum in a completely new way. Actually, a way I really didn’t expect. The number of poems grew and found their own footing and Karen supplied more photographs, and we have a wonderful full cover colour – Karen’s stunning photo and Ronnie’s eye for design is brilliant. So here it is in all its glory….
Ripples recede as if the water sits back on its haunches,
geese glide into the space between air and knees.
The fluster of wings fetches him from the path,
running as if there’s a ghost at his heels and, like a boat
slipping its moorings, he bobs into view. The water licks
at its past: tastes the metal of broadswords as they slice
its tongue, the heady swell of wild garlic on its lips,
the bitterness of nettles hung around its banks each spring.
The custom of collecting buds from barely-warm ground
is lost on him as he slides, swan-like at the muddy edge,
pulls himself back in time. He looks up at the deserted castle,
the morning’s fog wraps around it like a scarf,
and somewhere in it are the stirrings of forgotten language:
ramparts, gatehouse, defences, keep. All of this is lost on me.
I see where he collided: the nest of eggs, how the sun
lights each one like a sonographer doing a scan.
(petra, meaning ‘stone’, + ichor, the fluid)
I kick off my shoes, roll jeans to knees,
cuffs up thin wrists. Sun prods
through leaves, flashes on my skin
like a slippery fish with interlocking scales –
I’m a single word, an unbuttoned shirt
flapping in the breeze. I’m thinking
I adore this weather, this history –
him – can smell the scent of my ancestors
in the shrubs, grass, soil, hear the dreamlike
way rain shifts quietly on the pelt of trees
when the sky gives nothing away. I didn’t know
rain could fall this lightly, this slowly.
If you’d like a signed copy let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org, otherwise the lovely Dawn and Ronnie at Indigo Dreams will send it to you (cheaper and more quickly than Amazon!). Support small presses please… because they’re worth it.
There’s more from Ronnie and Dawn at Indigo Dreams Publishing in the next posting.