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Sunday 22 January 2012
Two Poems on Borders
To Jarman the Spoils
A poem on Borders for dVerse Poetics
There is a border somewhere here
somewhere the garden ends.
Sea-carved timbers, salt-encrusted ropes become
our timbers and our ropes, not his.
But he has made them his,
he found them like stray puppies on the beach,
gave them a home, a focus, made
of them a focus in their turn. Now out of reach
he is the most important piece of flotsam here.
He broke away, jumped ship
found freedom in the waves this stony
wilderness affirms. His vision
has survived the storms,
the brooding threat of nuclear disaster.*
Against all this it is a vision that
remains intact for us.
*The atomic power station, also on the beach.
Read more on Jarman and his home here
The image is from Google Earth.
The Mud Pond
A drizzle and a slant of light,
a watercolour landscape dunked
before the paint had dried
and somewhere there, between the front door
and the tethered donkey by the distant kerbside
was a border of white stones.
Now in someone's rockery most like.
Nearest to the house, the apple trees.
Most likely garden, so we thought -
although the bramble scrawl was thickest there,
like scribble over text we could not read.
Here too, the thistles at their tallest,
fleshiest and toughest yet,
the perfect substitutes for razor wire.
Further out, they thinned, merged with the crowds:
the long grass, daisies, dandelions and vetch.
Halfway to the donkey a small pond, now fenced
with floral tributes to the child who'd died,
still there in place, still tied
with ribbons to its posts.
This must be common land, for here
the people tie their animals
but where the border is is mystery.
Who owns the pond
has some responsibility
but deeds are silent and the parties disagree.