‘Crossings’ was first published in In Other Words Anthology #2 (Allographic Press, Cambridge) and was included in Clare’s collection The Blue Hour (Shoestring Press, 2017)
The chalk stream claims its territory
in a scrap book of feathers,
watermarked weeds, pressed petals,
No fords, only tiny stone bridges
or firm wooden crossings that would take a horse,
a flock of sheep, as was once.
Behind the church there’s willow shelter
on the banks, picture perfect. Sanctuary
as if it were still an ancient way
full of travelling ghosts.
One minute, long grass, the next chalk flat.
And it is as if nothing ever changes
and crossing is easy between banks.
Through the gate forward and back
forward and back.
But this is the nature
of crossings, a leaving, a letting go
There were others here before
There is an extract from ‘Crossings’ on Clare’s headstone, which is placed in the St Thomas a Becket church graveyard in Kirkhouse, the parish church for Farlam near Brampton.