And the Other: Ninth Battle Stations

Posted by ractrose on 7 Mar 2020 in Art, Poems

Pastel drawing of culvert with body




The Folly

Battle Stations





And the Other


A cyclist, and the lady whom

with the long game of a fellow christened Miles

He woos, though steadfast in pretence

Of interest, mutual, in a European kite

Thought, most rarely, according to the guides

To have blown across the Channel

On prevailing winds

(And those they manufacture over there, in this year of 1934

suggest a bird uprisen on a popular tide

feathered in dark threat, with a savagery of talon)

Again they pass the culvert and again their ease

Of conversation on themes reliable for mixing passion

with a comforting lack of awakening, romantic

Falters, fades, and dies

‘There is that,’ says Maura, to her hobbyist chum

The bundle, the two climbing down, impelled by urge

Still all unwilling, to touch, or draw the cover clear…

Has shrunk. Through a summer and now an autumn’s week

the shape by inches has unfleshed itself, if one dared so

To speak…

Almost the bundle has acquired a skeletal shape

Miles and Maura, much like Lem and Nell

fear they’ve left a duty unperformed

Awkward, if it were some bright-eyed boater

Had noted this become-routine behaviour



They find themselves splashed up to

by an angler. As it happens, he is Sir Rory Tebbs,

local magistrate. He squints and ducks his head

in curious fashion, and heartily he says:

‘Your young eyes, no doubt, can make it out

if that…object…is only rubbish…

I’d passed it by a time or two, I do confess.’

‘Why,’ Miles observes, ‘Miss Williams and I

being so caught up with our birds…

I must admit, myself, I’d scarcely noticed…that.

Do you suppose, sir, it would do,

for one of us to take a look…?’




And the Other

Digital photo-art of watery figuresSilent As the Grave
















(2020, Stephanie Foster)




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