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This poem is taken from PN Review 156, Volume 30 Number 4, March - April 2004.

The Stone Poems Gillian Clarke


In the subdivisions of geological time
Earth story's chaptered with eras,
paragraphed with epochs, ages, chrons,
sedimentary time laid down and shaped
with the patience of stone, silt on silt,
microbe, algae, trilobite, brachiopod, f
irst jellyfish, first worm,
leaf-mould, bone on bone.
Then the long upheavals, continents
lapping like plates of a baby's skull.


Speaking of stone on a day like this,
the silence, the heat, the hay-days,
when the slates creak in the sun,
the flags are too hot for the dog
and the field's dried to a thin song
of seeds and grasshoppers,

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