Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Rotherwas by Diane Jackman

I writhe and rhythm from river to hilltop,
guarding the land. Earth and water
are my home, close and familiar.

I did not notice the water’s chill
making me slow, sluggish, 
trapping my scales in fingers of ice.

Imperceptibly I was cloaked in cold
as the ice sheets spread south.
Soon I slept.

Layers of ice pressed me down, shrank 
and shrivelled me, stripped flesh 
from sinew, crushed and denatured me.

Left me as a silver ribbon 
of quartzite and fire-cracked pebbles. 
I did not know ice could burn.

You may not see me.
I am waiting.

* The Rotherwas Ribbon or Dinedor Serpent in Herefordshire is a series of linked curves of fire-cracked stones dating back to the Bronze Age. So far unique in Europe, it has some similarities to the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio.

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in small press magazines and anthologies, and won several competitions.  Her childhood was spent on a farm in the English Midlands where the fields were enclosed by the ruined stone walls of a burnt-out seventeenth-century Dower House.  It has had an effect on her work.

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