Poem introduction

There is a geological principle of 'isostasy' which, dubiously summarised, suggests that if the pressure from above is equal to the pressure from below then where they meet is a point of vast strength and stability. This poem takes the proposition a cheeky step further, that by the same principle the tip of a wave might support our weight if we're missing a loved one across the water.

Isostasy

Isostasy

And another thing I didn't say:
that the upward mass of a cresting wave
will always momentarily equate
to the average human being's weight;
so that if your timing is exact,
your footfall strict, and you've cracked
the basic rudiments of fetch,
you can run across the sea from one edge
to another on a causeway made
of temporality and water. Please mind
to keep that close next time the scale
has got too broad to broach, the pale
well passed beyond; and come down then
against your coast to hear the sound of feet
come in across the rooftops of the sea.
This much is truth, in principle at least.


from Ground Water (Bloodaxe, 2004), © Matthew Hollis 2004, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books.

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Recordings

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1Wintering

2The Orchard Underwater

3Clearance

4The Fielder

5The Small Rain Down Can Rain

6The River Drivers

7Nymph

8Winter Break

9'not even the leaves'

10Skin Contact

11In you more than you

12Hi-Fidelity

13The Sour House

14Isostasy

15It Rains During the Night

16Sandwriting

17And let us say

18Harwonder

19Blink

20Two Kinds

21Wake

22Here Are Some Words

23Election

24Fake

25Making a Killing

26One Man Went to Mow

27Our Father

28The Wash

27Passing Place

30The Stoneman

31One

Books by Matthew Hollis