Liz Lefroy



An Ancient Settlement

This is a true story, though I cannot believe it now.
We travelled in the black Mercedes,
and maybe, like me, you’ll want to know where and how.
I wore a blue skirt and I wore a white blouse –
this I recall because I wore them for seven days.

That first day, I did not mind.
When we stopped off, I thought we were nowhere.
And though afterwards we got back into the car,
and drove to the house where I was held,
and though after two days I was bored,
and though by the fourth I’d raised my fist
against his pinching of my cheek,
against his thick thigh,
his thick hand resting on my blue skirt,
I do not regret the journey.
This may surprise you.

For when we stopped that first late afternoon,
I turned the corner into the reddening sun.
Before me lay stones, and stones on stones,
some half-tumbled into low walls,
some etched with chariots and geometric vines,
some worked into columns supporting the sky,
some lying loose and heavy in the grass.
Through the lintel-less gateway of towering sphinxes
I saw round-breasted goddesses
eyeing the fluting god-processions
from behind their untamed, stony hair.

And so later, when he turned to face me,
and when later still he cursed my name,
above this rage I heard those ancient voices,
heard them rise, stride out, free and wild,
into the singing grasslands of the night.

Liz Lefroy won the 2011 Roy Fisher Prize with her first pamphlet, Pretending the Weather. Her second, The Gathering, was published earlier in 2012, also by Long Face Press.

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