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How Should I Refer to You?

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Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

An EnthusiastKaren Solie
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Endless heritage beneath the heavenly soundshed.
Jet-black amphiboles. Ten varieties of scones
in Elie. Giant centipedes and petrified tree stumps of the Devonian
fossil record. Pyrope garnets at the foot

of the Lady’s Tower aren’t quite rare enough
to acquire significant market value, much like the self-taught experts
in autobrecciation and exfoliation weathering
who work their way to the surface of the Coastal Path

at the close of a hard winter. Amateur
geologists, rockhounds, and collectors may be distinguished
by commitments to task-specific outerwear,
but a bin bag rain poncho is not the measure of a person.

Ideas gather around phenomena as though for warmth.
Between art and science, our method is the stage
upon which the universal plays in the fragment. Form in
number, ratio in form. A nice bit of white-trap,

or ironstone in a setting of green tuff
inspire a loyalty appropriate to no other relationship.
In the floodlights of taxonomy subjects
evaporate, at peace, and an uncompromised image steps forward.

I like it at sea level. It’s the right amount of exposition for me,
on the shores of the Great Archive. When you bring pain,
as you feel you must, when the exhausting singularity
spreads through my limbs, I look to sandstone

understanding itself by breaking at joints produced by the forces.
To the stacks preferentially and justly eroded
along their planes of weakness when seas
were four metres higher. As again they well may be.

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