Kate Camp

On reading Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

The morning air smells of leaves.
I see the paper in its plastic bag
the path overlaid with fine green moss
houses’ windows white with curtains.

Beyond the neighbours’ yard the hills
the white sphere of the spy station
and above, the white circle of the moon
about the same size.


I saw my father on film the other day.
He was whatever age I am now.
He raised his eyebrows, clasped his hands
behind his back. He bent his body from the waist

as a crane might, or one of those novelty birds
that sips like a metronome from the side of a glass.
He smiled and moved his eyes around,
showing this side of the whites, and the other side.


In the morning, on lovely mornings
when I step into that air
I expect to see a corpse
to be the one who discovers the body.

I can see it, face down on the neighbours’ lawn
one arm above its head
its knee bent
as if climbing a wall of grass.

I look up to the hills
over where the dead body is not
to the spy base, the spider’s egg
with the moon above it.

I don’t want to leave this world.

Author’s Note


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