Gillian Barton

Our own mud, our own marshes:
the place of the dead down under
the sod, the soil, worked earth like roots
in bogs. The hands of dead women settle
with wings here hidden over the corpse.
The living die with fading
with breath, even light. Death-walks
become earth to the point of our own mud.
Dreams of ladders against rough birds
fall with the land. Dead
men lie shaped without an author.
A kind of dying wails and
forgets the flat broad earth. Night feels
the body through the back door of thought
beginning with death.

Beginning with death
the body, through the back door of thought
forgets the flat broad earth. Night feels
a kind of dying wail, and
men lie shaped without an author,
fall with the land. Dead
dreams of ladders against rough birds
become earth to the point of our own mud
with breath, even light. Death walks
with wings here hidden over the corpse.
In bogs the hands of dead women settle
the sod, the soil, worked earth like roots:
the place of the dead down under
our own mud, our own marshes.

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One comment on “Gillian Barton

  1. The lines:
    “The hands of dead women settle
    with wings here hidden over the corpse.”

    Are chilling, visceral, capturing libraries of history text in a phrase. “Our own mud” calls back the famous line about humans being “sitting up mud”, the walking expression of earth itself, the silent brooding being that is planet.

    Just when the reader believes they’ve a handle, discovers that like the Hopi timeless perception, knowing runs both ways and in the opposing direction, new creatures are grasped back to a home we can never return to — the same river forbidden. The startling reversal of lines, of thought, of the story arc bending back neatly encapsules the packet that is a life between birth and death.

    Gillian has written a stunning bit of mud.

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