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Stone calls us to the joy of this world by JLM Morton

squabbling over directions we pull up / to the burial ground and find the stone interred in leaves / my father the winter bulb / hollowed of his green fuse /

I store him in the organ of my memory / each day laying rosemary for remembrance in the

hollows / I clear and cleanse the stone / with the rites of an old sponge that illuminates the

carvings /

water glimmering / for a kind and gentle man

the wind gets up and urges us / to scatter / our mourning / on the gnarled steep and blackthorn / to the spirit door of the long barrow / where we shelter / caught out by a sudden change in weather /

in the stone chamber of the mound / it is not dark at all / there is the fire of our family burning / indigenes carrying our future on a river in spate / our Styx of genetic instructions / eddying against the storm / and the old land

awakens in us / as we run to circle the barrow / three times round / and laugh all the way back down / without

epiphany / heading west heading home / we’re so happy in the wind and sleet / slapping our faces / with its fierce and watchful ice


JLM Morton is from Gloucestershire. Winner of the Laurie Lee and Geoffrey Dearmer prizes, her first collection of poems Red Handed, is forthcoming with Broken Sleep Books in May 2024

This poem was selected by Anthropocene Guest Editor Tom Branfoot.


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