This poem by Jane Griffiths, from her new collection, Silent in Finisterre (Bloodaxe Books, £9.95), conjured vivid memories for this reader of the rhododendron-encircled ponds of Ayr’s Rozelle Park in late spring.

Griffiths plays subtly with words and memories in a way that seems to invite such responses. Born in Exeter and brought up in Holland, she is an English scholar, worked on the Oxford English Dictionary, has lectured at Edinburgh and Bristol Universities, and now teaches at Wadham College, Oxford.



Undivined, a double cube of water.


A surface of solid peridots lying

out of mind in the shrubbery for years.


A thought, pre-verbal. Or, adjectival:

sinister, umbrageous, amphibian.


The pool, the missing substantive.


Memory, like earth, encapsulating

something other than itself.


That long-haired, long-egged child tumbling

unlooked-for down the hill and calling from far

outside earshot how we’d never believe –


The gravel sparkling from her feet.


At the height of the garden, the mass of it.


The rhododendrons hushed and lustrous.


The convex steps down. Concrete.

What we didn’t know we had always known.


The fluted artifice of its edges, its urns.