It had rained for several days.
The fields were moated enclosures
edged by silver where the water
caught the light. Those wet ditches
might be bottomless - venting, I said,
the unconscious of the place,
its histories - like fault lines
in a mind that had, in drier times,
become brittle and cracked, splitting
in its distress, to seep
suppressed anxieties, damp dreams,
or a rage that could not be denied.
The ground was adrift on something
we could not see. Stuff oozed.
The mythical tunnels they say are here,
I said, that go from barn to priest-hole
to church - will be awash with drownings,
and this must repeat, that Tichborne
welcomes home its long lost boys -
its child, claimant and heir - finding them
dripping at the door, too long engulfed
by histories made null, and unable to
articulate the nature of experience
in a world that cannot tolerate
the dispossessed on duty at the gate.
Sometimes the present is overwhelmed
by the past and we must repeat
what was done in order to obliterate
memory, and what memories mean;
I'd recognise an opening, I think,
and go . . . lest we end up
like people that we saw, marooned
beside their cars in flooded lanes,
stranded on some grassy bank
as they waited for assistance, patiently.
So we dissociate. Their faces blanked.
No car would pick them up, though
a farmer might, or some strange galleon,
sailing through the fields, tilting
to the breeze as it goes through
the woods - an image briefly surfacing
that seized them where they stood.
I looked through the dusk but saw only
a woman on her knees (broken,
but determined, like the rest),
as if searching below the surface
for some lost thing, her keys perhaps,
or a child already swept away,
before vanishing herself into the fields.