Issue Five

Autumn 2012

 

Ancestors


To old chestnut trees I have traced them:
their gravestones weathered runes
in the churchyard  at Morval.

Unexpected to know they loved water:
the high stretch of a sail, catching fish,
growing grain, tending the shrines on the road.
That always and after they married
daughters of innkeepers, merchants and sailors:
salt so deeply ingrained they knew its grit,
through the pull of the city to Stockwell,
Shoreditch.

Inked in their writing, they handed down names:
Caroline, Thomas, each child a new future.
A compass and plumb line through departures,
the turn of tides on the wild Cornish coast.
Perhaps they explain my love of the sea,
the promise of harbours where the shore
is strung with fishnets and crabs.

Crossed on the land bridge from France
millennia ago: to beachcomb the marshes
where sea roads meet sand. Small and dark,
threaded into their genes, an indelible code.
My name the same as a sea captain’s daughter,
the long season’s ribbon, navigating their days.

__________________________________

Clare Crossman

 

 

silver fractal