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3 poems by Isobel Dixon


I stepped out of the rain

into an Etruscan tomb.

It was a long walk

and a long way yet,

but the map said

they were here,

the old graves

on some farmer’s land.

Between tilled fields,

a shaded space

and now the rain

in grey-fall from the leaves.

I stopped alone, ducked in,

one small step down,

a coomb of earth and stone.

You stood outside

and waited while

I breathed the history bodily.

Soil, leaf, moist

must, membrane memory

and somewhere here, the bones.

My own limbs aching

from the marching day

and now this dusky interval,

an indentation, swerving

off the rutted track.

You call. I turn, step back,

re-join you to press on

between the leaning trees,

ancient coordinates,

each dip and hollow on the path

still slowly filling up with rain.

Hawkweed Burning

I wish I could see it.

I wish I had your eyes, Elizabeth.

Your words, turning the world

on its head, and bang to rights,

the sun from the other side,

the glittering fish,

the surprise of apt conjunction,

blossom or berg.

The surface that I skim

you scrape and probe –

who will bring me heron angels now,

worlds’ heavenly tableaux?

Our Doubtful Art

Berryman in the bath again, revelatory –

I hear his voice speaking our Delusions

and this somehow Faith. And yes, I mean John

Berryman, Glenn Gould a-muttering and Emily –

arguing against the faiths, though she sees lights,

pre-illuminated Words. & we of little light, clutching

at music, trying to find the perfect height to sit,

so as not to make a thorough mess of it, the brightness

that we see and can’t transmit.


Isobel Dixon’s fourth collection Bearings was published by Nine Arches, who also re-issued

her earlier collections A Fold in the Map and The Tempest Prognosticator. Nine Arches will

publish The Landing in 2022. She is working on a collaborative project, A Whistling of Birds,

inspired by D.H. Lawrence’s nature poetry.


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