Title: Sport 39: 2011

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2013, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 39: 2011

Johanna Emeney

page 295

Johanna Emeney

At Binham Priory

for Sue

Lily … swaddled Jesus … monkey-lion
We trail hands over smooth oak,
admiring poppy-head pew ends,
the mediaeval rood screen,
brave St Catherine of the Wheel.

Echoes sanctify whispers here:
commonplaces sound like prayer.
Once, we would have lit vigil candles
for our lost daughter and mother.

Now, it seems that need is over.
There’s a restfulness between us—
happiness simply to exist
and to take this place in time.

Later, we huddle at the cold hearth
of An Old Warming Room.
Black marks on beige stone
from centuries ago prove its use.

This is where we would have met
as sisters, hiding from the winter,
sitting close enough to be reminded
of life—its carvings, saints and flames.

page 296


for David

In this drought
a crack has worked its way
up or down our lounge wall—

a crinkle
to a hairline
to a mad jaw of a thing.

The builder talks of settling,
waiting for a change in the weather,
giving it a few days,

and you are fine
with putting panic on hold
for a rainy day,

while I’m on a fault line,
looking up past the picture
you have hung to hide it,

pulling out the settee
to see how much worse
it is tonight,

until the cross-hatch
of buckled tape
and seamed board

page 297 look too much
like a mistake
or a torn page.

When wrinkles
spread across ceilings
and doors swell shut

so I have to tug and sweat
to get out,
I expect you to be there

on the other side.

page 298

Marking time

we breasted the same river twice,
and, in winter, cocked our heads
to creaking ice
as a beloved dog
skated beyond all calls
for hours.

           Dark heads down,
we shed our griefs and truths
behind the kind disguise
of hoods and heavy rain.

           Remember the day
we swam back in our clothes;
the night we touched
torchless at hedgerows
to get home

           and that desperate afternoon
you beat a path to me
as I cried in a phone box in Blakeney,
grass seeds stuck to your jeans,
wild hair—

I still think the beat of our walk;
the weight of your arm;
the warm pocket of your coat.