Thursday, 23 November 2023 10:43

A Greater Loss

Written by
in Poetry
A Greater Loss

A Greater Loss

by Jenny Mitchell

The first report is of a dozen migrants –
eight men, three women and a child
battered on the rocks, boat a pile of sticks
floating on the surface with the dregs of clothes.

As the camera swerves, it reveals a house
beneath the waves, a small brick shack,
the kind a family builds by hand, enlarges
over generations, bodies on the roof.

A church is underneath the foam, a giant
baroque raft that’s sunk, people floating
near the steeple. When the camera pans inside,
there are children on the pews, at the feet of Christ.

Libraries are washed up next, empty now
of books, dirty water rolling into cabinets,
tables bobbing with computers smashed
against the shore as waves beat hard.

Museums start to tilt, artifacts drift off,
decorate the surf. Gold and silver goblets
sparkle in the sun, noble heads of bronze
weighed down by people clinging tight.

When the camera moves again, a woman calls
for help, pulls herself onto a rock, whispering
these words My country is out there. She points
towards the sky, a dazzling blue.


Read 499 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 November 2023 11:28
Jenny Mitchell

Jenny Mitchell is a winner of the Bread and Roses Poetry Award, the Poetry Book Awards 2021 and a joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. She also won the inaugural Ironbridge Prize, the Bedford Prize and the Gloucester Poetry Society Open Competition. The best-selling debut collection, Her Lost Language, is one of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales), and a second collection, Map of a Plantation, is an Irish Independent ‘Literary Find’ and on the syllabus at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her latest collection is called Resurrection of a Black Man.