LADDER HILL – a poem by Richard Britton


Head in the sky bravely facing death.
I don’t want to die,
I want to die through you,
From your clipped cliff face to your
Bouquet moorland,
Writhing into the sky.

Summer’s thrill is high in your up-tilted gaze
Photons of bronze smashing out illicit
Blue that emperors’ pride could not subdue.
Law and Word etched in your granite smile
Cannot be owned
But speaks only through the light and shade.

The inland sea of being beckons from your edge
Not mimicking the ocean
But the cosmic sphere
Where the waves of the skies
And the winds of the seas
Trick each other up to the line.
Birds swim and fish fly.

Lightning without thunder,
Anger without hate.
Your head emerges after each flash,
As I sit on my chair, legs sunk into stones,
Hoping for more, wanting a crash
But even as the tower of gunpowder cloud
Presses above me
You whisper through raindrops.
An orchestra tuning up.

Sometimes you vanish.

When my day is vague and thoughts won’t dance
As I want them to. The thick gluey haze
Clears until a lonely cloud bobs along above you

As the sun sets your face changes.
Lights switched off
One by one in a theatre.
A grey capped man sweeps the embers
From your granite.
A flickering ballet
Floats silently into the night.


Richard Britton is a theologian, elder and a worker in the criminal justice sector. His writing links the sacred to the everyday. He is published in The Ruskin Review and Bulletin, Philistine Press and Another North. He has a book out with Semeia SBL next year on metaphor in Romans.

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