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OLIVIA P o e t
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pavlopetri pavlopetri


the oldest submerged town site'


Now we know how their world

ended, not just with the seismic shift's

tweaked foreshore, houses tipped

down to the shore-edge,

                                but from

slow encroaching waters --

the sea lapped foundations,

and crept into cellars until

empty and derelict, they were

greedily claimed.


                         Here, right now

a road's shaved by a sheered cliff,

and a house hangs by threads

from the land's burst jaw --

                            but there's

wriggle space for us in the displacements

of ancestors, who took with them

just a fat wad of stories --

                          and left behind

their best guest pots and chalices,

and tiny house graves

picked clean long ago, by molluscs

and other bottom feeders.

Olivia Byard

Published in the New Statesmen,chosen to illustrate the EU marine boards 10 year report on the seas and climate change, “Land Beneth the Seas”.

This was presented at the EUROcean conference in Rome, October 2014, with a short comment on climate change from Olivia Byard.

Collected in The Wilding Eye  2015.