Sorry, I haven’t been posting a stone daily, though I’ve been thinking about them, I promise! What do you mean, you hadn’t noticed? Oh no, don’t make me question who I think I’m writing for, not again!
these fretful days, blunted contrasts
seaglass the only glowstones, trailing the tidal hem
liquid fractures, tiny skyfalls
fractionally panting in the shifting cloudlight
captured and carried, knocking
pocketful of droplets
darkness and our collected breaths press
the single, inadequate panes between them
until the glass is silvered
by the single streetlight beyond
the etiolated plant on the windowsill
inexpertly pruned by day
delicate Japanese silhouette by night
today all things speak to me of their opposites
this soft, open cast smudge on the stained white skyline
thumbed charcoal among the pony-scrubby grass
only whispers how it used to be for men and boys,
the underground faces, the pitshaft to the bowels
the fear between the molars, pressed
tight and hidden as anthracite
diddy little didcot punched from my ticket
travels with me, a black dot resting
on my black skirt
The end of my habitual trudge is the dead pipe
of the magnesium works, where it walks into the sea
on its massive H-and-A frame legs, quercus brittanicus,
barnacles, rust. The terminus is stoppered
by the old seawater silo, the landward point falters, and hangs
over compacted rubble. On a cross-beam
someone has knotted and slung blue nylon rope,
scavenged and tied a driftwood swing.
Now these forsaken things let me lift my feet
out of the sinking sand.
On the way back from the buried staithes there is a place where the banks have been reinforced with bulwarks of housebricks caged in iron mesh. The makeshift buttresses failed years ago, succumbing to rust and unleashing a brickslide that partially covers the long, larva-like scab of cooled slag from the old works. In amongst the solidified bubble-holes and chattered red bricks, Hannah found one that was blue. Just one. Squatter, deeper and heavier than any other, its blue glaze had been cracked and bleached by the sea, its corners rounded. We took turns carrying it home like a baby against one hip-crook and then the other.
Later, I looked up from my magazine at her working, and thought of blue bricks, touchstones, and how things begin.