Border (1989)

Gillian Clarke

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links On

It crumbles
where the land forgets its name
and I’m foreign in my own country.
Fallow, pasture, ploughland
ripped from the hill
beside a broken farm.

The word’s exactness
slips from children’s tongues.
Saints fade in the parishes.
Fields blur between the scar
of hedgerow and new road.
History forgets itself.

At the garage they’re polite.
‘Sorry love, no Welsh.’
At the shop I am slapped
by her hard ‘What!’
They came for beauty
but could not hear it speak.