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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Claire Everett

Under the Sun

morning dusk

a touch of curlew
in the starling’s song

The most alluring among them lurks on the cusp of a dream or at the bottom of a glass of wine; a spell so sonorous, yet soft enough that only I can hear it. It rings true . . . and strangely familiar. Then I have no choice but to consult the oracle. But Google draws a blank. Surely it is an impostor, this poem masquerading as my own? I try to forget it. Still, it whispers. I scour every well-thumbed journal in my possession. It will not be cast aside, and clutches at the ankles of every passing thought, begging to be mine. I take it in, but do not make it comfortable, certain as I am that it doesn’t belong here.

A few days pass and it’s taken up residence. It sits on a straight-backed chair, stares me in the face and asks me to consider if anything is truly original. What of the Romans with their borrowed gods? What of Shakespeare, who took his inspiration from Boccacio, Brooke, Saxo Grammaticus, Holinshed, Plutarch . . .? It has even been suggested that everything ever written can be boiled down to seven basic plots. It is no surprise, then, that my house guest reminds me of someone.

every snow angel
feels like the first . . .

little egret

I remember when my son touched grass for the first time . . . when he made his first sandcastle. That look in his eyes! Had anyone done such a thing as this before? No, no one had ever made that particular castle, from that combination of sand grains on that beach. No one had scooped and patted and pressed them in quite that way, nor had they chosen those shells to decorate it. A few years later, my daughter came running in with snowflakes on her coat, desperate for them not to melt because her brother had told her each one was as unique as a fingerprint. More exciting than that, even, was the notion that at the heart of every snowflake there is a speck of dust that was once floating in a cloud. I recall how she licked her sleeve, as if to taste the magic before it vanished.

I realise I’ve become quite comfortable with the lodger. It goes out into the world, with my blessing.

rain-washed pheasant . . .
everything old
is new again