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Zooming in by Sharon Phillips

I can see it on Google Earth, 
the hillside cluttered with brambles
where one day I turned my ankle 
and sniffed back snot and tears
as we scrambled to the top;

on the brow of the hill we stopped 
to look back: at houses and flats; 
the salt marsh checkered by rhynes; 
the smokestacks of ships in the docks 
and khaki fumes from the chemical works; 
the silver glint of the Bristol Channel 
and over the water, Wales;

then on we rushed, past cabbage fields, 
through the wood’s green hush 
to the pond, carrying jars for newts 
we caught to take home: quick 
and brown, yellow bellies spotted black. 
Mine lived in a seaside bucket 
until I got bored or forgot.

I zoom in to find the wood, exactly 
as I remember it, though the fields are 
covered in barns, the salt marsh striped 
by a motorway’s asphalt. However hard 
I look, there is no trace of the pond.

---

Sharon started learning to write poems a few years ago, after she retired from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2017), the Indigo Firsts pamphlet competition (2018) and the WoLF Poetry Competition (2019). Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset.

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