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Waterfall and Black Box with Sean Martin

Waterfall and Black Box with Sean Martin


I am not the drop,
which falling through light
and into darkness, seeks
light once again. The drop
that searches for a path, but finding none, grinds
its life against a bedrock
to point a way for others.

Neither am I the second -
who observes the work
of the first, hears an echo
and adds its weight
to the progress.

I am not the third, the fourth
or even the fifth. I did not
carve the rocks nor temper
the stream-beds. I was born
when the world was old.

I once imagined myself
as the waterfall, my life
a torrential, ever-flowing
font, shaping all around it,

but I walk on paths laid
by the sightless hands
of others. I am hurtling
from light to darkness,
powerless by myself,
but unstoppable as part
of the accumulation.

As part of a glacier of souls,
which in its slow yet
definite progress, sunders
valleys through the earth.


Black Box

I think about the ash
people of Pompeii, still standing
testament to what fire can do –

They huddled together, but how
they chose to die, now reflects
how they lived. The blacksmith
clutching his hammer, probably
worried more about finishing
the horseshoes for Tacticus,
than a fiery death. I think

about the bog bodies, preserved
in peat, their black bin-bag skin.
The prehistoric men and women
who were cloud-gazing or chasing
mammoths when they took a bad
step, a trip to emerge thousands of
years out of context. I think

about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I think about the final seconds
that must be recurring in that
shadow-play, before cataclysm
scorched those memories in
permanence. There is nothing–

the soul is cinder,
the mind eaten,
the body pottery.

Our stories were never
anything more than just

stories, lessons gleaned
from ashes that we learn

and unlearn.



Sean Magnus Martin is a poet from the Lake District. He studied a BA and MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. In 2015 he won the Battered Moons poetry competition and was shortlisted in the Outspoken Prize. He has been published with Riggwelter Press, AmberFlora Zine, Ink, Sweat and Tears and most recently, in the anthology Love Like Salt. Sean's first pamphlet Flood-Junk is being published with Against the Grain Press in May. Sean enjoys tea, dogs and far too much gaming.

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