Coniston – a series of three short poems by Andrea Porter


1. The Ferry

The child on his father’s lap
reaches out, touches the water.

He trails a finger, sucks it.
It tastes of old rain, he says.

It tastes of not the sea, deep,
slowness, town scouts fingers.

2. Campbell

Cold water cures many ills,
lowers desire
to the pitch of  an Arctic char.

Shafts of femur and tibia,
the curved chassis of ribs
record the speed of decay.

Note it is less than
three hundred miles per hour.

A clutch of teeth,
the flip of a shell,
the pace of a glacier.

3. Ruskin’s Ice House Overlooking the Lake

A cell carved from the cliff’s flank,
he could sit here to cool his head,
as a world races to melting point.
There is a comfort in dark days,
the ease of keeping what is.
He prefers winter; he knows
that a mountain can hold ice,
can school water in stillness,
can reflect the nature of cold.

* Coniston is the glacially formed lake where Donald Campbell died attempting the world speed record on water. Ruskin the well known nineteenth century art critic and social theorist moved to live in a house overlooking the lake. He suffered all his life from severe bouts of depression.

Andrea Porter is a member of the poetry performance group Joy of Six
that has performed in Britain and New York. She has been published in a
number of poetry magazines (both paper and online) in the UK , Canada ,
Australia and USA . Her narrative sequence of poems Bubble
was adapted for Radio 4 as a drama by the RSC playwrite Fraser Grace.
She received an Escalator Award from the British Arts Council (East)
and The New Writing Partnership in 2006 to complete a novel. She sleeps
either too little or too much.

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