Ben Jonson

11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637 / London / England

The Thames At Mortlake

if only for ten minutes

after the mass feeding of schoolchildren
after the careful inanity of the staff

at low tide
this was the place
for calm, for order of a kind

the relief of walking there

and the smell was acceptable
perhaps even preferable

the objects to be

principally (I have it still)
a short fat halfpound brass bolt and nut
virgin, unscrewed

other things less permanent

sodden grey bones
scratched glass, rubbed brick, rusted gatebutts
once a chaffinch eggshell

every conceivable other

but mainly dirty shingle
prairies of malachite slime

though was the important thing
that I met no one else there?
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