Caroline Gill was Overall Winner in the inaugural Zoological Society of London Poetry Competition in 2014. She came 3rd in the 2017 Write Out Loud ‘Milestone’ Competition, judged by Brian Patten. Three poems feature in The Book of Forms, A Handbook of Poetics Including Odd and Invented Forms (Lewis Putnam Turco, University Press of New England, 2011). Caroline’s archaeologist husband, David Gill, is also a member of the Society.
Publication: The Holy Place, a chapbook co-authored with John Dotson, and published in 2012 by Peter Thabit Jones (The Seventh Quarry, Wales) with Stanley H. Barkan (Cross-Cultural Communications, New York).
Penwith Finger Stone
Location: SW437374, Treen, beside B3306
Zennor Quoit, Robin’s Rocks, Great Zawn
and Gurnard’s Head ripple off the tongue,
raining their music on this granite land.
I tilt my neck and watch the sky display
its spectral colours as the clouds recede:
two farm dogs scamper up the hill. I walk
towards the finger stone, which hides
between the tarmac and a Cornish hedge:
a snail trail shimmers in the afternoon.
I check the surface of the milestone block.
A hand points to Penzance: it’s ‘6M’ up
and over to the arc around Mount’s Bay.
This ‘stone with benchmark’ sends me on
to find a town called ‘ƧTIVƧ’, without an ‘e’
in Ives. Each ‘S’ is back to front: was this
through lack of learning? It could be
the maker was left-handed for when I
was small and shaping letters into words,
my text ran right to left, which seemed
its natural ebb and flow. I filled the pages
of my stapled book, flicking from the back,
until convention’s channels turned the tide.
My current ‘S’ advances in a coil of surf,
unlike these stone-based characters,
which chime when rain comes pelting
down: Gurnard’s Head, Zennor Quoit,
Robin’s Rocks, Great Zawn…
Copyright © Caroline Gill 2017
Published in Milestones, the Poetry Anthology (Write Out Loud, 2017)