Poem with thermoluminescence


We take a sample from the buried cliff:
raised beach shingle, chalk, the Skipsea Till,
coarse and imbricated gravels. We lift
small cupfuls to the microscope, label
hippopotamus, hyena, straight-tusked
elephant, bison, deer and water vole.
We sort the flints from temperate molluscs,
wild erratics found in kettle holes.
Thermoluminescence dates the blown sand
to a period mid-Ipswichian.
Going further back, we see then how the land
in fact curved west away from Bridlington,
and where we took the rocks, the cliff we walked,
did not exist, was low Cretaceous chalk.


From Fossil Sunshine, forthcoming from Worple Press


4 thoughts on “Poem with thermoluminescence

  1. Out of the silence comes forth names and lists; out of the chaos, an ordering and picturing. I loved the shift between the unhuman ice and debris and the stories picked out of the close up details: the precise naming unfolding the past. I’ll be looking out for the collection.

  2. I find your poems really exciting – and I am completely unscientific! I think it is the words – they remind me of Hugh MacDiarmid’s On a Raised Beach. It is not just words though – it is the openings in the layers and the rocks. So pleased to be able to share this work in progress. Thanks

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