By Sophia Hill
Water Meadow (for A)
We rise, the magpie and I, in a swirl of damp feathers.
Look no further than the river edge, oozed mud between our toes.
The tenderness of the tide taking everything under.
Nothing is left to chance, nothing is ever still. The briars and berries and dew-
new grass and the dank salt-slow smell of the boat’s demise and the jacks on
the cliffs and the rise and fall of breath on the water meadows.
The rough chaff of the trimmed path, itchy bashed weed seed heads
smashed open amongst the washed-out crisp packets and the wind.
Charming. Charms of goldfinches, Christ birds, grace the skies without
The depth of morning shadow, the ancient murmur of trees growing,
compassionate, rotting, compassionate, unknowing, compassionate.
All the while a blackbird and a mower sing rusty high-low duets.
The morning growing outward. The gulls chase the shadows and shadow
birds and bones of the Downs and down. Down. Soft fleece of the rosebay
Your hand that fits mine leaves a memory mark when I run this land. Briars,
brambles, the dark stain of stolen fruit, a smile, evening sun on the slow, slow
eloquent river. A gentle stare from a dusty beast, no one is fenced in, robin
song from the river edge. The gentle fall of leaves, scales, scars.
Pennies dropping to the murky depths, bubbles rising, singing, sighing.
Drop. Stone. Story. Walls crumbling in the rain, rebuilt from the chalk. A
thousand years of stories, faces in the wind. Blown away. Away, loping into
Thought given flight. Can’t fight it anymore. Heaven knows (really knows).
Only stories. Running words, swallowing stones, writing, swallowing sobs,
writing, the last swallow. Writing. Only words.
Home, breathless. Beginning. Again.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.