portland views

by Rg Gregory

wherever there's a tear in the fabric
around weymouth; portland appears

from abbotsbury hill it's just a long
thin line humped at one end

closer (from chesil beach) a head-on
massive lump of rock gnashed by the sea

if you stand at sandsfoot castle
there's a military feel; an armed guard

of an island harsh with prisons
snarling with secrets visitors don't probe

but on the road up out of town
towards the east a different spirit

rides inland over caravans and hedges
especially in soft light

portland softens like a pear
in syrup (yearning to be consumed)

elsewhere at other times it broods
a sleeping lion its paw upon

the carcase of its prey; but look
at portland if you can by night

its outline traced by street lights
its harshnesses seduced to

shadows; then the island hangs
beneath the sky in still festivity

its truths intact its wounds of stone
find blessing in the herbal dark

nothing of this of course is meaningful
unless inside us all there rests

a portland ravaged daily ill-at-ease
that has to use the night-time

for its solace; and each glimpse we get
of it assuages different guilts

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