Skipton, North Yorkshire
The fields are a bowl, filled.
A glacier once scraped out
the entrails of the valley,
leaving an oyster shell,
an altar plate ready for silver.
The river bulges
like a dead thing left to the air.
Its mirrored body is burst open:
a hasty gutting. Each pool,
each grey pocket, an amputated scale.
Mallards float on the upturned
belly like pilotfish.
Dry stone walls rise
from the slippery husk, brown
and purple, the exposed
veins of a leviathan.
And where the water thickens to mud,
rams stand in the sod, horns curled
into urchins, and observe, unconcerned.
Open gates and fenceposts
gather, shipwrecks in the shallows.
Trees shoulder their broken branches,
masts, crosses, and gesture
in vain towards higher ground.
previously published in Green Ink Poetry