Poem by Lesley Burt

Parish without postcode

A sink-hole opens, just where the Priory sat in scrutiny of tweedy textures on Hengistbury Head and, beyond, on asterisks of sunlight that dazzle jet-skiers who ruffle the Solent. Bones of a thousand years drop in underneath daisies they pushed up, plus the man on a sit-on mower who beheads them every week. The confluence of Stour and Avon cascades in, mingles with mill-tail and Mill. Dozens of dinghies wobble among bobbing ash-filled urns. Ducks dabble in horse-chestnut leaves, mackerel gleam between dandelion clocks, salmon leap over slouching gravestones and swans bow necks before guardian angels. The clock paddles its hands and chimes out waves of Westminster Quarters. Brides are bedecked for the bells on Saturdays and a choir sings on the cusp of Christmas. The mower-man hears nothing beyond ear-defenders as he navigates undercurrents, sticks, stones and bones. Street signs are buried beneath the broken church that named the town. Parishioners flounder in all directions.

Parish without postcode by Lesley Burt was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2018) judged by Mandy Pannett.


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