Pevensey Levels, Winter

Or, where does

the dormancy hide?


 Jemma Borg

Rustle-hush      grass and rushes,

            marsh-sharp fescue,      thorn and willow,

                        muffled wind and drum

                                    of wind,      black flame

of black water      where the reed-stems

            and leek-skin bullrush  rot

                        under Northeye  and castle-eye:

                                    a straightened river,       a cultured river,

an intervention of ditches

            and the wind shines them: golden skeletons

                        of grassheads

                                    with the green stars of pondweed,

starting, and blades of plantain, starting,

            and wind glints the pitted mud

                        where the wet worm, rust-sheen

                                    and ferrous oil leak

and a milk coils …

            Under the winter      like saltwater,

                        a flood of grasses – rye and foxtail –

                                    are quiet as relics,

as the rare spider,

            the sinistral snail, bright Aenigma,

                        and the dormancy of the wind


from a quiet rush of shining,      drains

            into drum, again, of wind, dry rain of wind,

                        ear-full wind, muffled wind,

                                    bawling wind intensively

rushing, then falling      back –

            rustle-hush –

                        and the black water

                                      quivers, the worm-burrowed clay

ticks:    the mud breathes in

            And where does the dormancy

                        hide?      in the breath,

                                       in the drowned root?





Pevensey Levels, Winter

Or, where does the dormancy hide


Jemma Borg


Elephant Press 2020