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for Sue Deakin
prints in fine sand . sinking feet . grasp grain . in the grass . boxes rise . among the dunes . sea tang . ringed plover . gulls . eider ducks . yellow box . lakes . light tower . soay and lambs . table on stones . calling cheviot . runs up the dune . nesting gulls .
soays . on a hump . tired feet . on sand path . blown hollow . dimple cushion . sliding . slipping . sinking . bleached soil . stony path . blue streaks . distant castle . line of blue . monoliths . black on blue . orange box . on stilts . yellow lichen . scaffolding . willow hurdles .
voices alternate . smooth and jagged . plucked line . scraped strings . structure . they look . at each other . listen to . voices above . three crises . then stop . they know . it is the end . when the birds’ . voices rise . above .
Andrew tells us . there will be . all the usual . English songbirds . bluetits . robins . blackbirds . and the rest . but also . a backdrop . of seabirds . which is unique . and there will be . a sense of space .
I lie in my tent . lose track of time . enjoy the feeling . of touching the earth . yet restless . wondering . all sorts of sounds . voices . a yelp of pain . a solitary bird . twice a plane . flew over .
and now . sitting here . facing the moon . in the east . regular flares north . waiting . for first light . first birds . though . a single bird . has skittered . a fifth staccato . I had shone my torch . in the window . saw the clock . 3.00 am .
a red light . flickers and moves . near the huts . then burning white . gulls call . in the distance . the torch moves . into the trees . as keening . an insistent keening . starts up . among the gulls . a piercing . of air
Born in London, Josephine Dickinson has been deaf since the age of six as a result of a childhood illness. She studied classics at Oxford University and went on to establish a career as a musician, composer, and poet. In her late 30s she relocated to Alston, a remote English Cumbrian town, where she met and married an elderly sheep farmer, Douglas Dickinson, who died in 2004. Dickinson’s collections of poetry include Scarberry Hill (2001), The Voice (2004), and Night Journey (2008). Silence Fell (2007) contains a selection of poems from her first two books and is Dickinson’s first American publication, with an introduction by poet Galway Kinnell. Dickinson continues to tend her late husband’s sheep farm.
Copyright 2019 Josephine Dickinson