Stump

Frances Presley

 

 

1

 

‘The northwest, abrupt corner of Norfolk, staring out

across the Wash, at Boston Stump’

                                                                         R.H. Mottram, 1948

 

black & white photo                         sheer cliff

 

upper layer                       white chalk

lower layer                                       dark chalk & sandstone

 

jagged slabs at the base                             one tall and vertical

I confuse with the Stump

 

white face

black profile

 

2

 

Is this my landslip

terra infirma

her terra form [a]

I will not find a shot

of the perfect vertical

no sun      no contrast

 

northwest Norfolk

is more abrupt

 

ab rupture

and each new rupture

leading out of

 

chalk walks              chalk entails and entrails           the horizontal

 

fresh white chalk flow              reverting to         white wing signal

do not lift the cover         albino toad           or it will turn to stone

ossified           brutalized                specialized

 

try colour:

lava flow                                                             red iron     stain chalk

brick work of Brexit            these bricks will all melt    and return

tired of reformations         and refurbishments                    kissing

not allowed          across coasts                           lest it be headlined

the kiss of death

 

no medusa           a soft flow face        distorted                   maimed

monstrous       elephant               woman                        in the room

with one eye              and toothless              not entitled

 

razor shells                         rounded brush strokes

concave enclave                monumental wings

 

spectral wind turbines                          stare back across the Wash

translucent fungi

 

 

 

Hunstanton cliffs

October 2018

 

Frances Presley lives in London. Major publications include Paravane, 2004; Myne. 2006; Lines of Sight, 2009; An Alphabet for Alina, 2012; Halse for Hazel, 2014, which received an Arts Council award, and Sallow, 2016.  Her new book Ada Unseen concerns Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, mathematician and computer visionary.  Presley’s work is in the anthologies Infinite Difference (2010), Ground Aslant: radical landscape poetry (2011) and Out of Everywhere2 (2015).

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