Dan Eltringham: Summer Scrapbook (pt. 1)

            Go. Eager to quit the city, hardly gambolled at risk, unforclosed
            yet not forsworn nor saken, leaving all this they strike for
                        pelagic waters,
            where the sea lets in a little light of surface glimmer but
                        depths tug,
            air is easier, the rim visible in green hills seen in instants
                        between steep streets
            keeping invested trust beyond the chosen enclosure called
                        the city,
            today. Lungfull to peak air time, using my loaf to fill the bread
                        basket again
            leaves milk on the step as metaphor again, butter spoils our chances,
                        no-one wants to be
            just a gateway drug to something harder, further down the line.
            At the end of the line is the station, of course, that’s all. If
                        the head is bread,
            the stomach its basket, woven tight like the jumpers of drowned
                        Island sailors,
            Mull or Islay or Lewis legible in the weft, a grammar of belonging,
                        not trite but true,
            crosshatches remembered fishing nets, trellises copied the run of
                        drystone walling,
            the three point blackberry carded the trinity, double zigzags
            undulations, then now is it to unshackle the hierarchy binding
                        head to hand,
            stomach to mouth. To prefer repair to replacement, maintenance
                        to replacement,
            a patch-up job to replacement, the nation with the best maintenance
                        will recover first,
            staving off decay by daily care, what I love is continuity of usefulness
                        in buildings
            or failing that just the stone reused, the outline of a Saxon axe head
                        latched on its haft,
            traced on a sandstone ledge. What is left of earth, once flipped about,
                        taken out,
            but a monumental chimney ringed by rare dragonflies, orchids,
                        a good spot
            for lunch? Land once black as its subsurface, now the gothic
                        pit head
            reflects in the pit pool, pit wheels grace town greens, pit towns ring
                        the grene wode,
            concentric, depressed post-industrial communities, whence Red Robyn
                        flings cash back,
            centrifugal. Seasonal shift, heather purpled, blackberry soon. Fell
                        down a fell
            this afternoon, slipped off a rill down a hole in the ground Wordsworth
                        never saw,
            in the leisure box, feeling green around the ghyll, where once-open slate
                        rakes frame
            picturesque mountains, our picnic? Rebarbative wire no reply but
                        a snag on
            trousers, in the fabric of progress, torn like technique, narrow squeezing
                        through style,
            out the other side, to the plain top field where cows are kept.

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