This past week, on two occasions. I’ve been struck by the air. Summer has been quite a letdown in Cornwall – it’s been a letdown across the whole UK. I’ve always associated July with being summer fully ripened – heat, humidity, vegetation everywhere, air conditioning everywhere. A bit of heavy rain and thunder, sure. Barbecues and outdoor furniture on discount at the supermarkets, long evenings.
A receptionist said to me on Thursday, “Apparently, it’s going to be September. That’s when the summer’s coming.”
Some can’t wait that long, down here. People are beginning to get a little depressed. I’m just happy to be by the sea, It’s still a novelty for me, so the gloom hasn’t filtered through just yet. I’ve got no holiday planned, and no leave from a job to spend wisely anymore. I’ve been living here in Falmouth for ten months. I’ve been a student with a fairly unstructured daily routine for ten months.
Perhaps that’s why these poems came out this week.
Whilst waiting for the branch line at St Ives
In the shallow, honeyed song of hidden high birds
In the outbreaths of Porthminster’s shore
And in how my fringe slurs its forehead lick
In lethargy, I feel
The air of a town
Remote to so many
Yet baring itself, unobject, unsubject, to me.
Whilst running through Falmouth In July
As I ran, I played scientist.
Each breath in became a sample,
Each sample a question:
Could it be this scent, or this taste,
that makes me think of Wales?
On I pressed,
Cornish pavement to Pembrokeshire track,
English Channel salt crashing with the Atlantic
On black Aberfalin stone.
It hung on me like old love,
Tender to taste, fresh to breathe,
And as I looped Falmouth streets,
Two barometer needles, was all,
Tapped by a finger on glass, huddled close to.
It was an overlap. Memories on two sheets of acetate,
on an overhead projector, that I watched
On a chair
In an air-conditioned room
In an office on an industrial estate –
So now there’s Rotherham, too,
And I ran around there, once, kicked through
July growth on a rare footpath,
a stump of two miles between
wheat fields and corrugate,
The sea an imagining I threaded
And left there, like a dropped spanner,
Between the two.