JLM Morton – Spirit of Place
Genio Sancto Hvivs Loci
Altar inscription, Corinium
I couldn’t find it in the broken statue
or the stillness of the alcove. It cast
uneven pools of light on to my skin
and I chased it, felt it slip around
away from me like shoaling roach.
The sour milk of dandelions
on my tongue. Ancient goat horns
spilt all over
me, a double cornucopia of high wolds,
black foals feeding at dawn, pylons, ploughed fields.
Allowed the river’s silt to soothe me.
The darkness of the icehouse.
All of my love became caught
on the filaments in a brachiopod’s shell
and my heart took root. A fleshy pedicule
on a hill that was once a shallow sea.
I laid down on a grassy patera,
asked no questions at the altar, cannot say
what it is that I have found, or how.
Winner of the inaugural Laurie Lee Prize 2022, JLM Morton's poetry is published here and there including in Poetry Review and The Rialto. Her work explores cultural identity and belonging, ancestry, place and practices of care, repair and solidarity across human and other-than-human worlds.
Artwork: Reveal by Helen Gwyn Jones
Helen Gwyn Jones (she/her) started recording her world at the age of 8 when she bought a Brownie camera from her sister, something which has become a lifelong passion. A collector of the past (hers and other people’s) she likes nothing better than muted images of imperfection. May be found poring over Welsh grammar books when not photographing drains or going into raptures over rust. Recent publications include Hungry Ghost Project, Free Flash Fiction, Acropolis Journal, Paddler Press, Blink-Ink, Hecate, Pareidolia, Moss Puppy, The Levatio, Camas, Subliminal, Terse. Instagram / Twitter: @helengwynjones Facebook: Helen Gwyn Jones Photographic Artist