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Birdoswald renga

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  The Walk Back

Crennellated stone
catches and holds
the wind

spate rushes shale beds
further down the river

silken leaves
in moon pools

I climb home
over patchwork hills

at every other stile
there’s a new Aretha
to sing

a ram’s horns
blue heat

blue streaks
from Spadeadam
have seared the woods

a carved cock
points west

i’m first up
so loud around the house
while you sleep

losing a day
on the pillow a note

wax orders _
ghosts tumble over
the landlocked bridge

paint it white
no one thought to ask

shut the door
when you’re through –
the room shakes with firelight

Ardbeg passed
glass to glass

on the way back
the ice
meets itself

boots crunch seaweed
a chough glides into darkness

dawn breaks
another sleepless night
raw edged with toothache

early daredevils
paddling the surf

offered flowers
and orange peel
washed ashore

into the distance.

from sea to sea
renga along Hadrian’s Wall (2003-04)
a nijuuin renga in Autumn
Birdoswald, September 12, 2004

Alec Finlay (master)
David Platt (host)
Beth Rowson (co-ordinator)
Morven Gregor
Irene Leake
Jacob Polley
Richard Thwaites
Ruth Sheldon

site of the ‘former blue streak’ missile launching testprogramme