Friday, 19 October 2012

Sudden Prose Reprints: Somerset Letters 4 by Frances Presley


I need a grammar that will link the channel tunnel to the need for an extra groin in the sea wall.  I mean groin, depression between belly and thigh.  The minimum number and size of groynes necessary to economically contain the beach material is reassessed by the design architects who realise they will have to see things in the light of October’s storm, for which they were not prepared.  The park warden is urging the sea to break through the shingle ridge and create new openings and lagoons, which look lovely from above.  You cannot economically contain the beach.

Swallow the sun before it sets.  Short moment.  Yellow grass and mounds of sawdust.  The old life.

I am reading Brenda Chamberlain’s account of her life on Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlii), and the strong dark lines of her drawings.  She says that the nature fancier is the town dweller with a sentimental view of things.  Her sentiments are wild and believed to be archaic, but, like the boat to the island, they cannot always hold water.  Nature leaks through excess diction.  The seal’s nose is nobly aquiline.  She listens for a tongue still vocal in the dust of the island, when we know from a long way off that the dust is still vocal in the tongue.     

Frances Presley

Somerset Letters was originally published as a book by Oasis Books in 2002, with selections, including this one, later included in Paravane: New and Selected Poems 1996-2003 (Salt, 2004). Presley's last two books were published by Shearsman; to learn more about her and her work and read selections, please see her Shearsman author page here

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