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This poem is taken from PN Review 44, Volume 11 Number 6, July - August 1985.

Poems Gillian Clarke


Kate in full day in the heat of the sun
looks into the grave, sees in that unearthing
of a Roman settlement, under a stone
only the shadow of a skeleton.

Gwyn on his back in the dark, lying
on the lawn dry from months of drought,
finds in the sky through the telescope
the fuzzy dust of stars he had been searching.

Imprint of bones is a constellation
shining against silence, against darkness,
and stars are the pearly vertebrae
of water-drops against the drought, pelvis,

skull, scapula five million light years old
wink in the glass, and stardust is all we hold
of the Roman lady's negative
in the infinite dark of the grave.

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