On Lancing Hill

Harvest is in,

hay cut down

to straw stubs,

poppy blood bright against

chalk dust rusted earth

A plowing competition

drifts over to the trig point.

From here the distant

curl of teeth-white cliffs

meets stallion racing manes

tossing small boats

along the shoreline,

from Seaford Head to Shoreham.

A whale beached

at Cissbury is sunk

into the hillside;

blowhole shafted,

tree-barnacled brow

looking north to Chanctonbury

and its barrowed,

temple ghosts.

Neolithic miners came

casting for stone

to tame and plough

these salt-washed slopes.

Young woman bound,

thrown head first into

a chalk dark pit,

sings out still

to skylarks on the wing.

I hear her song in the wind,

fragile bones

boxed in Worthing,

scratching for reburial

and a new prayer.

Last day of summer,

before light and dark

fleetingly become equal,

before we begin our descent.