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renga at Arbeia

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  Dove White

That gull could be cloud,
Lowry, a legionary:
its wing refuses

     over the sea the sky tilts
     light falls slanting away

clear morning –
a slug draws slow
silver excretions on warming stone

     dove white emulsion
     protects from damp

its old roof removed
the fort is filling up with
air’s blue granaries

     painted pears wait
     for the afternoon sun

impatient hands –
conkers take their time
to fall

     cargoes of people wave
     sailing between the houses

at the corner shop: The Chronicle,
sausage rolls, endangered fish

     a post box swallows
     the taste of the stamps

thin veneer scripts –
birthday guests
a line of Virgil

     interea pavidam volitans
pinnata per urbem

nights' errata:
for shooting stars
read satellites

     the little panes make ice cubes
     out of the low sunless sky

fake snow
lying in drifts
deep into February

     sorry, I fell asleep –
     my toes seem larger now

hurrying to school
the mothers don’t notice me
get out of their way

     parked outside the Mithraic Temple
     a pram wheel chariot

hungry now
the kids’ egg sandwich:
anemone and celandine

     making do
     is the best of beauty.

a nijuuin renga in Summer
Arbeia, September 3, 2003

from Sea to Sea: Renga Along Hadrian’s Wall

W. N. Herbert, Master poet
Alec Finlay, Host poet
Miles Thurlow
Steve Chettle
Morven Gregor
Margaret Frayne

Verse attributions
1-WNH; 2-MF; 3-MT; 4-MT
5-WNH; 6-AF; 7-MF; 8-MF; 9-MF; 10-MT; 11-SC
12-Virgil; 13-AF; 14-WNH; 15-AF; 16-MT
17-WNH; 18-AF; 19-SC; 20-AF

Latin translation
Soon hasty fame thro' the sad city bears
[The mournful message to the mother's ears.]