Making the Road of Nine Days, Nine Nights – a poem by Rose Flint

Making the Road of Nine Days, Nine Nights
i.m. D.H.

There, beyond the gate
in the deepening cloudy shadows, there –
I am making a road of signs, way-markers

for you to follow, for I am told
there is a labyrinth to negotiate and evening
is fading quickly to blind black.

As the ancestors did five thousand years ago
I’ll bring the stars down to light your road
as white quartz pebbles; you will recognise

these nine small stones
curated from the granite dark, from knowledge
of tumuli and bone. Each names memory.

The first, for an old, trodden field, four-square
and sturdy with winter; the Hunter waits here
more luminous than at home.

The second, silvered with ice, a waterfall
that broke its neck. Three is shaped
by a red kite, wings alight over the blue hills.

Here is a stone to mark a frosted mountain
where even sour turf was glass. Here is another
that kindness has worn to a talisman.

Six is a hollow cup, held in our hands ring
all the stories, wild wine.
No stone for lament, seven sings joy.

The eighth is a far shore, flat and hot,
green rock for bronze; sun burning the sea
so blue it erases our winters.

The last one knows the way back.
It shines faithful as Sirius, on the jetty
where the boat waits with the ebbing tide

and as you row out into the dark, phosphorescence
surrounds you in a nimbus, a radiant blaze
bright as any meteor lighting up the years.

© Rose Flint

 

Rose Flint has worked as a creative writing tutor and was for 10 years Writer in Residence at Salisbury District Hospital, working in all areas of healthcare. She has five collections, including A Prism for the Sun (Oversteps). Awards include the Cardiff Poetry Prize and the Petra Kenney International Prize.

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