before the dogs do 'unt -
they'll take us down like rats out 'ere
an' rip us limb from joint!"
trapped by the blades of tufted grass
which knobble the chalk. A numbness blankets
the child-woman's limbs: her lungs gulp at
the rising miasma; ribbons of spittle
spool from the side of her salty lips
to frost on the earth. Her eyes are solid -
she cannot see. Her sight refuses
to start its magic, its meagre attempt
to sort some points of purposeless light
into an image, an instance of landscape,
burns a poker of pain through her head.
We 'as to go to church!
The hunt won't follow us in there
within its stony arch."
levels a path along her nerves,
plucking her skin with pinscrapes, echoes
of heart pulses pulling her joints
towards movement. A tightness in her bladder
cajoles her towards disjointed coherence.
A form is before her - the face of a boy
fresh to the stubble that stipples his chin.
before the light do fail!
The church is just across this ground -
no more than 'alf a mile."
and works her hip away from the hill.
A thirst from the crypt catches her throat.
On her knees, she spots a splint of ice:
she lowers her head level with the soil
and licks at the frosts that fruit on the leaves.