A Flicker of Bracken – Robin Maunsell

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1999 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Third Prize
Adjudicator: John Mole

No more than a breath of wind against the field’s skyline,
though there were so many other things I could have recalled,
like the colour of the house, the approach along the lane
where the hermit lived, the dropping of the cracked chamber pot on the flags
outside the kitchen so it couldn’t mistakenly be used again,
the primroses on the bank and the bank of nettles separating
the garden from what we called the out there,
the adder country that was out there, the walk to the fallen tree, hornets
cruising from the bark that we prodded
quite childishly hard to break it up,
and the family of us, though I often pretended the family was something
I had simply come across.

                                                And the way
bracken twitched against the skyline, in a gap
between belts of pines, willing me to go on,
cross the field’s plough and up to the edge,
as if there was something out there in the beyond
waiting for me to come to it. Once, before the light had properly
stroked the land awake I found this tunnel of mist leading to trees on the horizon,
wisps of white air breaking up half way across broken ground,
like a secret not to be shared
as I ran forward, forward with my arms outstretched to receive.

Copyright © Robin Maunsell 1999

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