Allegory of the Navigation Canal

Something like Blake’s daughters of Albion:
flame and shadow, the moment and the thought
set into each other, rack and pinion
against this slope of time. And time is caught
lightly between the teeth. Here on the Weald
where gypsum inculcates the groundwater
with elemental hardness, water’s held;
time is channelled through it into colour:
seams that run obliquely to the surface
mapping time in arcs through matter’s prism,
each plumbed depth explored, resplendent, poly-
chromatic like spilt oil. Time, that folly,
hollows out its cave of solipsism,
leaving earth infected with its darkness.

by James Brookes

‘Allegory of the Navigation Canal’ is copyright © James Brookes, 2015. It is reprinted from MAP: Poems After William Smith’s Geological Map, edited by Michael McKimm (Worple Press, 2015) by permission of Worple Press. Notes from Worple Press:

James Brookes grew up in rural Sussex before reading English & Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and a postgraduate degree at the College of Law. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2009 and published a pamphlet, The English Sweats, with Pighog Press in the same year. His first collection Sins of the Leopard (Salt, 2012) was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize. You can find out more about James Brookes’s work on Michelle McGrane’s poetry blog, Peony Moon, and follow him on Twitter.

MAP is a new anthology from Worple Press which celebrates the first geological map of Britain, created single-handedly 200 years ago by the engineer and geologist William Smith. Edited by Michael McKimm, this groundbreaking anthology collects new work by over thirty poets inspired by William Smith, his revolutionary map, and the foundation of a science. There are poems in this anthology that tell the story of Smith’s genius and his misfortune; poems about fossil hunting and map making; poems about the drive of the Industrial Revolution and our continuing reliance on fossil fuels. They illustrate not only the vibrancy and variety of contemporary poetry but also poetry’s unique ability to take on uncharted territory with vision: the poems make Smith’s map anew in moving and surprising ways. You can read more about the anthology on the Worple website.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s Urban Pastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter. 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.

The only proper way to go on a fossil hunt is in a minibus

She was always glad to be taken along, liked
the dirt, the students’ laughter.
Once, in the pale grey slope of a road cutting,
she found an ammonite, big as a skull.

Having learned that the earth is made of layers
she began to put her feet down differently
so as not to disturb the pattern, dreamed
of shapes vibrating in the seams,

found she was torn between the wish to preserve
and a digging desire to excavate,
cover the landscape in mountains of rubble,
unearth old life or an ancient ore.

She longed for a map that could pinpoint
a likely place to look, spare her
the lung-blighting spade work. Better to lie still
with her ear in the cool grass, listen

to the coal,
to the trilobites singing.

by Ailsa Holland

‘The only proper way to go on a fossil hunt is in a minibus’ is copyright © Ailsa Holland, 2015. It is reprinted from MAP: Poems After William Smith’s Geological Map, edited by Michael McKimm (Worple Press, 2015) by permission of Worple Press

Notes from Worple Press:

Ailsa Holland’s poems have been published in print and online in such places as NutshellAngleInk Sweat & Tears and And Other Poems. She won second prize in the Open Category of the 2014 Hippocrates Award. Under Silk Wood, a Maxonian homage to Under Milk Wood, was written and performed by Ailsa with Jo Bell for Macclesfield’s Barnaby Festival 2014. 

MAP is a new anthology from WorplePress which celebrates the first geological map of Britain, created single-handedly 200 years ago by the engineer and geologist William Smith. Edited by Michael McKimm, this groundbreaking anthology collects new work by over thirty poets inspired by William Smith, his revolutionary map, and the foundation of a science. There are poems in this anthology that tell the story of Smith’s genius and his misfortune; poems about fossil hunting and map making; poems about the drive of the Industrial Revolution and our continuing reliance on fossil fuels. They illustrate not only the vibrancy and variety of contemporary poetry but also poetry’s unique ability to take on uncharted territory with vision: the poems here make Smith’s map anew in moving and surprising ways. You can read more about the anthology on the Worple website.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s Urban Pastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter

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.