Slates – Fiona Pitt-Kethley


In England, slate´s blue-grey. Where I live now,
it also comes in amethyst and green.
Smashed, powdered stones lie glittering on the hills
and silver stream beds, glinting in the sun.

The countryside has all become a slate.
First, lovers wrote their names on trees and walls.
Roadmakers left instructions in the paths:
where they had asphalted and where they´d not.
And jokers added quips on cowboy jobs.

Next, came a mystery worker with black paint,
Proclaimed corruption everywhere he went.
The whole Sierra was his open book,
the pages, buildings, bridges, mines and wells.
On obvious routes the Council covered up,
sent round another man with more black paint.
Tourists will never read that message now.
But those of us who like to walk off piste
still see his words inscribed upon the stones.

Plum pudding

The diggers sliced through hills and broke down mines,
broadening the road for lorries to the port.
We took a pick-axe there on Christmas day.
We knew the area´d be deserted then
and dug between the turkey and the pud,
harvesting fluorite, purple as plums.

I´m sad the mine´s destroyed yet pleased to find
this booty, ghosts of cubes within a cube
and interlocking forms. Yet all is flawed.
Vibrations damaged it beneath the earth.
Sacred geometry broken by machines.
We pack our spoils to save them from the light.
Their form is damaged but their hue´s preserved.


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