Second Prize – John Foggin

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The bright silences

beyond the quiet almost noiseless sound of blood,
and of breathing, the small clamour of anxiety,
or whatever it might be, the calculation
of distances and likelihoods, the mild noise of wind,
the tiny sounds of men made small by distance,
the hammer tap, the minute snap of a slate, a scrape
and shift of a ladder on a granite wall
the drawn scouring of tyre noise, all this quiet din,
the scattered sequins of birdsong, the urging
of sap in bare hedges, green pressing
from the tips of winter-brittle thorn, that friction,

the silence of the dog fox flattening himself
to a puddle of dark in a wide field.

The silence of three crows harrying
the indifferent buzzard who draws
perfect circles in an immense blue,
signing off in one long sliding line,
vanishing into a tumbled hillside.

The silence of two dolphins, small as hatpins,
breaking bright and sudden in the dark space
between the scribbled chalk lines of tiderip,
blowing fine spume for the sheer hell of it.

The fox, the bird, the dolphins, hunting.
Their bright silences.

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