3 poems by David Slater


After the monsoon

rocks are laid to rest

like cradled babies

beside each upended 

road. Women and men,

adze in hand and basket 

stacked, wave as our bus 

lurches over red earth. 

We are washed away 

by their smiles.


for Carla Grosch-Miller

I see the sea as expanse,

nudging my eye to its edge.

It is how it fits the sky

that immerses me.

You see the sea as flow,

as currents, as tides: 

how it shingles hope

with its ebb of fear.

I could never be in waves.

I resist their pull from here,

above, outside, upon the prom

separate from the sea,

You would swim every day,

breasting the green swathe:

I would stand looking on.

I have no surging faith.


Some Wuffinga cops it

and is buried with his stuff

gold, Byzantine plate,

a silver titfer, and enough

bracelets to sink a ship.

Bishops ride for days and days

on wrecked roads, to arrive

in Clovesho, which they know

as the centre of Mercia:

it has gone AWOL now.   

Victory at lost Brunanburh

makes England sure to thrive. 

Vikings enter Valhalla and Scots

scatter, barely alive. All hail,

Aethelstan, our main man.

We know so little of who we are,

where we come from, what

happened. The questions are left,

the answers lost and untraded,

like the one gold coin of Coenwulf.

About the contributor

David Slater lives by the sea in North East England. He studied history at university and worked in the civil service and local government. He leads a poetry group in Newcastle upon Tyne and completed an MA in creative writing at Northumbria University. He visited India in November 2019.

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