Editor’s note: This week’s Poetry Corner features Lola Haskins, who divides her time between Florida and Yorkshire, England. “Still, the Mountain,” her ninth book of poems, won a medal in the 2010 Florida Book Awards. Her 10th, “The Grace to Leave,” will be published by Anhinga Press in 2012. Ms. Haskins loves coming to Santa Cruz.
The contour lines come fast, like flood marks
or the ancient tracks of animals circling a fire.
Finally I reach the top and there they are:
the stone barns, the moors, the sheep
scattered like crumbs. But then a mist
takes everything away, as if someone had
put white hands over my eyes and said
I will not let you see, you cannot stand this.
A Landscape without People in It
Has no scale, so you pose me as yardstick again.
Don’t. I’d rather think this bracken-strewn
slope the size of my thumb, and the sheep
that nibble its windy sky as small as the knots
on the dotted Swiss that crossed my bed
when I was a child. That white. That infinite.
On Ilkley Moor
From the stone circle, we make out a scatter of white parabolas listening across the valley. Do you think if we lined up the sun, they’d finally understand what they’ll never own, no matter how many messages they flash over the mountains, no matter how many satellites they tune into beyond this earth? Or would they believe it’s only words, the way the Christians thought they could possess these rocks by christening them The Twelve Apostles and sprinkling a little water on each early one morning, as if the rocks were boys at catechism and they the only true priests?