The Bindon Landslide

When the earth began to move, cracks daggering
the chalk cliff path, they thought nothing of it,
went home to their beds, the landlord’s Christmas
whisky still hot on their breath, bellies happy
with sweetmeats and pickle. They slept with deep,
dark dreams of the day, of the horse buckling
in the limestone quarry and heavy hods cutting
their shoulders, then darker dreams of sulphur
and sinkholes, dank pools of bitumen, rivers
of leachate, pipelines, convoys, midnight tankers,
and the sea roaring, agitated, an intolerable
stench that woke them, their tenements rending
and sinking, the moon in the window entirely ajar,
fissures gaping, they’d say, like the mouth of hell.

by Michael McKimm

Tonight at 5.30pm at Regent’s Park College in Oxford, Cindy Aalders will be giving a talk entitled ‘The Life and Hymns of Anne Steele’, in which she will discuss one of the most prolific hymn writers and poetesses of the 18th century. Free tickets can be booked at The Angus Library and Archive website, where you can also find information about an exhibition concerned with non-conformist women which accompanies this series of talks.

This week’s publisher, Worple Press, will be appearing at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival from 5-6 April. Events include a showcase of new and established poets on Saturday 5 April, including Stephen Boyce, Sally Flint, John Freeman (whose work featured in a Weekly Poem in June 2013), John Greening, and the author of this week’s poem, Michael McKimm. You can find more details on the Worple website.

‘The Bindon Landslide’ is copyright © Michael McKimm, 2013. It is reprinted from Fossil Sunshine by Michael McKimm (Worple Press, 2013 by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Michael McKimm
 was born in Belfast in and grew up near the Giant’s Causeway. He now lives in London where he works for the Geological Society Library. The poems collected in Fossil Sunshine are the result of a year-long collaboration with earth scientists, in a project funded by Arts Council England. A graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, Michael won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and was an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa in 2010. His debut collection is Still This Need (Heaventree Press, 2009) and he is published in the anthologies Best of Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword Editions, 2009), Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt, 2012) and Dear World & Everyone In It: new poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2013). You can read more of his poems on his website and on his poetry and geology blog.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint.  More information can be found on Worple Press’s website and Facebook page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.