Now, in the almost-light of 6 am,
in this field bounded by bird-full
hedge and scribbles of winter-bare
willow, I could sleep. I lock my knees,
think myself anthracite, carborundum,
let my feet settle into muddy ground
for wind-blown twigs to pile against.
I let my eyes close, my head dip, set
my back against the slow glimmer rising
from the hill’s dark curve. I’ll be stone
while skies circle overhead and birds
forget I ever moved. I could sleep
now, in this field, in the almost-light.
Begin at the cheekend; make it strong,
four-square and sure footed, certain to hold
your lines straight.
Don’t think too much, don’t ask what sort
of stone you need; let your hand roam
over the stack until the right stone finds it.
Let the rhythm guide you, trust the tie-stone
to know the right place, don’t look at the spaces,
or measure them, let your eye see them.
Leave your dressing-hammer in your pocket,
you won’t need it until you walk the length,
hammering pebbles between the coping,
seeing the best stones in the best order.
Copyright © Angela France 2013
Angela France’s latest collection, ‘Hide’, is available from Nine Arches Press at http://www.ninearchespress.com /