Gillian Clarke

1937 / Cardiff / United Kingdom

Pheidippedes' Daughter

Long silver girl who slipped easy
and early from the womb's waters,
whose child-breath was a bird in a cage,
the inhaler in her fist her amulet,

grew tall, beautiful, caught her breath,
outran the hound, the hare, the myth,
the otter, salmon, swallow, hawk,
the river, the road, the track.

She texts again - this time Santiago.
She's counting seven cities underfoot,
running the bloodlines of language, lineage,
for Ceridwen's drop of gold, an ear of corn,

to leave the Battle of Marathon and run
through pain and joy with news to the gates of a city,
to arrive at the finishing line, and say,
'Nenik├ękamen - We have won.'
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