They use a Flemish bond, but set in it
Sufficient blue-flared headers
To make the lozenges
Of language for an eye
To read with ease a hundred years ahead.
A brick arch frames a window for the light
To be let in, and for a door,
A lintel. All are laid
Like script declaimed on Sundays
At faces plain as chimneys on a roof.
The building of a cottage, house or grange,
That finds its height and stands
Against the day, is song
For hands that speak in courses,
That harden as they weary of the work.
And they are dumb or gone away or dead
Who cut the sweet, pale clay
Of sentences and fired them
In common kilns to make
The narratives that keep us home and dry.
What we read now when walking through a place
Is all that’s left of those
Who squared the quiet day
With chisel, hawk and bolster,
Who held their tongues but spoke vernacular.
By Jonathan Davidson, 2014
Winner of the Café Writers Open Poetry Competition, 2014