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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Ross Hattaway

After the Dam Broke
We are no longer
stillwater people,
but still
water people
for all that.
For all that has gone
dripping off the years.
Years of anger and doubt,
of flood and loss,
love and blood and pain
and then the years of drought.
For all we stand for,
standing still.
Forty feet
above the water.
Still four feet above
where the water used to be.
Crossing the Saddle
for Elizabeth Knox
The land is craters and lumps the eye.
Vision lists with ghosts and husks of men.
Mist thickens trenches and
ridges ground our waiting senses,
trees hanging every breath.
Left, our women linger,
futures torn and
choices shorn by
loss and nationhood.
A terrible century.
What remains is released
home over the saddle.
We emerge to a stained time,
stumble washed and stiffly.
Sympathy the mist we live in.
The land itself is steep and clean,
a lean religion,
a cradle from the grave.
We go down the open spaces
of the valley of Dives
in the Falaise Pocket,
through Chambois
and the market town of Trun
to Pont D’Ommoy
and my brother’s family.
We go slow and wide,
like the floor of the valley
of the Canadian monument
that stitches boys to graves,
bones without uniform.
For bones are without uniforms
and their sons
are all our children.
And it’s not about the guns
and it never really was.
Ross Hattaway was born in New Zealand in 1962 and has lived in Dublin since 1990. He has been published in periodicals and collections, including Mutes and Earthquakes, Poetry Australia, Census, Poeziyos Pasavaris and The Raintown Review. He has read widely in Ireland, including the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, and in the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Poetry Spring Festival in Lithuania. He has two collections with Seven Towers, The Gentle Art of Rotting (2006) and Pretending to Be Dead (2012).
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