About the poet
Andrew Motion (b.1952) read English at Oxford University where he won the Newdigate Prize and...
I am behind you on the mainland, leaning
on your shoulder and pointing with one arm
in front of your face at weightless cinders
which are ravens blowing above the island.
Boulder clay on the outcrops, and beaches
doted and dashed with coal dust. Guillemots
whitening the cliff face. Small orchids clearly
still evolving in a downpour of Arctic sunlight.
How many years are there left to cross over
and show you things themselves, not my idea
of things? 25, if I live to be the age of my father.
I cannot explain why I have left it as late as this.
Your black hair blows into my eyes, and I see
everything moving fast now. Weather polishes
the silver fields ahead. The ravens swoop down
and settle in the gorgeous pages of the gospels.
from The Custom House (Faber, 2012), © Andrew Motion 2012, used by permission of the author c/o The Wylie Agency (UK) Ltd
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