Tim Kindberg

Prospect Cottage

He was once as indestructible
as we ever are:
matter in motion, worn
and renewed every seven years;
he breathed in the sea-laden air
a sprinkling of molecules
from Caesar's breath,
diffused across the water.
He could dig in
his shingle garden
for hours, laying the hardy leaves,
the sculptures of driftwood
and rusting iron,
the railway sleeper beds.
For rest he strode
the hundred yards to where

the sea remains
busy with the same
plane of stones,
patting them irresistably
in undulations, mimicking at its edge.
The boats shine, perched against the sky,
filled with potential energy;
set to slip into the water
down pebble grooves.
The horizon is vague, detail lost
in blues and greys,
arced with concealment.
It was up to him to move
to see what he could not see
but he stayed and planted

and looked instead
at his outstretched arm.
This encapsulation by skin
is imperfect, the contour
seems complete, continuous
slightly arced, concealing, but
is broken where it counts.
Once the virus was let in
he dug in more.
When he filmed
at Prospect Cottage
it was force of habit, the insistent
poetry of silver nitrate
spooling through his mind.
He knew his garden would outgrow him,
could not be replayed.

Note: Derek Jarman, film-maker, died 1994.