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Birds of the Sherborne Missal.




Cormerant, Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
———–—For Kim B. Ashton

TO KICK OFF one’s shoes and throw them. Slipping between pleated histories at the lake’s surface, brilliant or dazzling, the coup de foudre. Fortunately falling folded amongst these structures of unmaking, these collusions in perceptual paradox. Stunned by the flashover irrupting capillary walls in arborescent erythema; keraunographic markings reveal the pathologies of lightning, a dermal feathering. To covet the silk of your downpourings; calculations in drowning, weighed down by little stones: I have called you by name, you are mine, when you pass through the waters I will be with you. Breathing our stories into each other’s mouths, reaffirming mutual tales of origin. Stuck in the craw. Bloodlines drawn across the lawns; a thumbnail splitting the stems of genealogical daisy-chains, she’s reading for the part of kate in the shrew (o mother); a screwing down of migrainous clouds, spreading stain of strawberry ice. Time’s passage in fond, undigested lumps. A hem of bindweed, woundwort & pendulous sedge, stitched into. Lap of a wave to the hand, and. No less liquid than.


—————————————–black rainbow dive: mercurial
———————————-bubbles escape the murder-beak, dark
————————————————————————-mucoid throat




Pekok, Peacock (Pavo cristatus)
———–—for Steve Batty

A PURSE OF LAND, coarsely woven. This certain waste of ffurzies & other fewell; a chafed place & barren, lying in the broad comon. Scar tissue knotting together, seared, scalloped, scythed, serrated. Invariably furrowed & stiff. Patterns of transhumance reassert themselves through use-names inscribed upon the maps; summoned by walking, in deep-trodden utterance. Outlying manorial, cut loose from memory, coterminous with the economy of its lexicon. Venomous catabolism of fractured shadows at the selvedge: shakeshakeshake so shwanky down Hethfeldstrete, turning out the toes among spoil-heaps and gravel (the foulest feet & rivelled), the Tarshishim, the brilliant one. Curator of moldewarp archaeology, the mute ostrakon. Areareth up, off the hizzle. Colours like the noisy fire of leaves in the wind, palpable stains, turning inside the flask; distillatio. At the threshold of wakening, strikes at the heart. Random promises of knightly violence in a shaffe of pakok-fedird arrows. Tokeii tukkiyim. Screaming against the storm, the domination of black. Sodden with honey, it cleareth the mouth.

———————for he hath an horrible voice:

—————————–voice of a fiend
—————————————–head of a serpent
————————————————–pace of a thief




Mose Cok, Great tit (Parus major)
———-for Frances Hatch

CRUSHED EGGSHELL, CALCINATED bird bones produce a patina of white, shimmer through dimpse. Oak iron-gall gnaws the skin’s surface the knife-tip holds taut, bisecting the cranium to a rush of wings, inhuman hungers of feathers & blood. Salmortis. Surrounding a whitish spot, tipped with white, edged with light, tinged; the umbellule, ribbed & floating amid the floral envelope. Hulver, hedge-rife, star-wort, witch wiggin, mother-die. And divided longitudinally somewhat carelessly put together white in ground-colour, spotted & freckled, of varied intensity; imprimature of the zygote. A song-thread pulled from the verdure tapestry, finely twisted. Dense, tangled. A multiplicity of doors. Beyond childish repetitions: abandoned twigloos, rings of ash, shift & settle into a nameless forgetting. Green flaxlands, ploughed flaxlands, unravelling, bordering between the remembered & the real; a hollow gate-post choking with mast. Cotton weft fibrils in constructions of running water; overshot foaming white of inflexed petals. Cramp bark, staunchweed, mouse-ear, scabby-may, hagthorn. Fallen on stone. Tree-babbler, bidding this ripple of woodland from the textual river; weaving, unwoven. Bee-biter, pickcheese.

———————————————–from hell to heaven
——————————————–rounding the round world—-dropping
—————————————————————————a stone through


Elisabeth Bletsoe was born near Wimborne in Dorset. She is the Curator of Sherborne Museum. Her publications include The Regardians: A book of angels (Odyssey Poets Press, 1993), Portraits of the Artist’s Sister (Odyssey Poets Press, 1994), Pharmacopoeia (Shearsman, 2010), and Landscape from a Dream (Shearsman, 2008). She has recently written the biography of a previously unresearched botanical artist, Diana Ruth Wilson, and is currently involved with the artist Frances Hatch, providing textual responses to her collages in the exhibition/publications Drawn to Antarctica and Chesil Moons. She has also collaborated with the Cambridge composer Kim B. Ashton who has set several poems from Pharmacopoeia and ‘Birds of the Sherborne Missal’ to music for piano and full orchestra.

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