Kim Lasky lives in Sussex and facilitates writing in various settings. Her latest short collection Petrol, Cyan, Electric was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award.
Cloud Cover at Herstmonceux
We’ve climbed spiral stairs to the dome
fixed open like an eye
vertical lids hinged,
telescope pupil staring at the sky.
Outside, cloud is underlit
by rays lifting from the horizon.
No moon and Jupiter a blur―
there’s nothing to see.
So we gossip about space,
its distances and shapes
thinking of gravity and rocket engines
as night blackens and clouds shift.
Until one lonely speck sharpens― Jupiter
and we line up to see a small moon adrift
―there, at four o’clock.
But three more are hidden.
Slowly the planet backs away, fades,
as out to the East a handful of stars blink
outshone by the tail-light of a plane.
through waterlogged fields, kissing gates,
cattle stumbling back for feeding
we turn onto a tarmac lane
rising like a promise to a crossroads
Littlington, Alfriston, land banked above our heads
strewn with roots and fallen branches
winding past an empty church, stone walls,
cottages lit against dusk
out onto the waiting Downs:
clouds, soil, the brisk wind
and, nearby, the salt lick of the sea
rushing inland pulled by an invisible moon
just as we are pulled towards
what’s laid out for us―
on a blind hill, chalk effigy
of the Long Man
regular as breathing.