Winter at Tile Well

by Oliver Smith

I followed, slipped on the sleeping brook

as she slid along her icy road,

back up to the beech-woods’ frosty thorns.

Her white fingers scooped a pale channel

between green spruce and grey willow.

At the ruin, as Sullis Minerva,

she idly scraped her crystal nails through

banks of brittle clay and frozen soil.

Among shriveled bracken and beech mast,

her sacred basin lay un-trodden, as if no-one

visited her cold temple, now that icicles

bound her source in roots and stones.

Above the knotted boughs, a cold eye

shivered, and below, a trickle of water sung

in a frosty whisper; a half-remembered

language dreamed beneath the winter stars.

Oliver Smith is a visual artist and writer from Cheltenham, UK.  He is inspired by the Tristan Tzara, J G Ballard, and Max Ernst; by frenzied rocks towering above the silent swamp, by the strange poetry of machines; by unlikely collisions between place and myth and memory.

His poetry has been published in ‘Abyss & Apex’, ‘Alchemy Spoon’, ‘Ink, Sweat, and Tears’, ‘Strange Horizons’ and ‘Sylvia Magazine’ and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

In 2020 Oliver was awarded a PhD in Literary and Critical Studies by the University of Gloucestershire.

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