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,
each dip and hollow on the path
still slowly filling up with rain.
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.