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January 2016 vol 11 no 4

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Claire Everett

Becoming a Page

Most often, they’re happened upon by the wayside sometimes caked in blood and mire but strangely intact, belying the pain that dragged them there. To glimpse such a one, when it is said and done, is to miss the spell as it is cast and find the candle snuffed, but faintly smoking.

ink seeps skywards
from iris and ivy
in the quiet of a word
becoming a page

The hole is crescent-shaped as if, by moonlight, the earth were moulded to the mason’s form. That time – their time – is when the bluebells have given themselves to twilight, but the stars of the May still burn, sickly-sweet.

the hand
that lifts the starry latch . . .
the nose-tip
of an idle saunter
through the day’s scents and tracks

Quite the gastronome, it seems, but she likes nothing better than the lowly worm that turns the clay, though a sweet tooth might send her snuffling after windfalls, or even climbing a plum tree to satisfy a craving. Now the boar: not the blunderer you imagined, no, soft of foot and quicker than you’d think, more graceful and lithe.

Sometimes there’s a yip, or a yelp, or the otherworldly wail of a sow in search of her lost mate. The old folks say that if there comes such a cry followed by the call of an owl, you have heard your own death knell. A claw worn at your throat will seal your lips to secrets . . .

don’t try to keep me
from wildness and magic
I learned long ago
the rabbit-proof fences
that came with badger gates