Ruth Barker

Genius Loci (Echo And Narcissus)

Glen Nevis / Resonance FM
Outlandia Outlandia Outlandia Outlandia

Genius Loci (Echo And Narcissus)

2014

Reading with live radio broadcast, 1 hour. Genius Loci (Echo And Narcissus) was commissioned for 'Remote Performances', a collaboration between artists London Fieldworks and Resonance104.4fm, the world’s first art radio station. For one week in August 2014, 20 specially commissioned artist performances and programmes created with local residents were broadcast live from Outlandia, a unique artists’ field-station in Glen Nevis, Lochaber, Scotland.

Through performances, artists responded to Outlandia’s distinctive and remote geographical forest location overlooked by the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in the Scottish Highlands. The week-long series of broadcasts and blogposts were a timely reflection on contemporary ideas of remoteness, capturing and transmitting creative interactions with the land, its history, and people, and the tensions between nature, industry, tourism and heritage.

Remote Performances were broadcast live through Resonance104.4fm (August 4-9th 2014) with listening posts set-up at Edinburgh Art Festival and the Live Art Development Agency in Hackney Wick, East London. Daily blogposts featuring texts, images and films from Remote Performances were hosted in collaboration with the LADA (www.thisisliveart.co.uk).

More information at http://www.remoteperformances.co.uk

 

Genius Loci (Echo and Narcissus) is available on Soundcloud via Resonance104.4fm. Listen in full here.

 

 

SCRIPT:

Echo. Genius Loci

I am an Echo. Above the earth below the sky, caught in the pines like a bag on a bough, rustling. You are my pale and perishable lover. Under the ground you lie, bulbous and dormant, poking your yellow head above the soil in spring and nodding nodding, only to crumple, fade, and turn to mulch. Every year I see you bloom and die. We hardly ever touch. You are brief. I am old as stone.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

My body opens itself to the land. The land opens itself to my body. My fingers grow into the soil. My throat presses against bark, under rain-laden thighs. Thighs and peat. Skin and soil. Hair and damp earth. Wrists and heather. Breasts and moss. I suckle the land that I am. I am suckled by the cracks between the hills. I cup my lips to the shale and drink. And the water grows fat from my milk. I am wedded, at last.

I am heavy, grown stiff and calcified. My veins are thick with ringing minerals. I am become this place. You flower, briefly, by my pools. I let you.

The glen is full of whispered words, spoken elsewhere and thrown back. The mist is full of absent throats. Yours, perhaps. I am a dream of something. I am un-remembered, as are you. My hands are translucent, and fading. I am a scuff mark, your footprint on wet shingle; who spoke this way before? Where did they go? And as I leave I look over my shoulder, resting my chin on the mountain. I am as wide as skies. Here. The words that make me who I am build me in their mass and weight. I have spent an immortal lifetime swallowing your words, and spitting them back. And no more. No more. More. I am full of your words, too many. I have cut myself loose. My throat is my own and the glottal stops flop without cease, without care, without story. It has taken a long time.

I am Echo. You are a fading bloom by a forgotten waterway. I am lost in the wind. You are growing wild among the wild garlic. I am a voice spread low over the hills. You are a splash of colour in springtime, brief and overlooked. In the soil you may find me whispering, in mushrooms. Your pollen blows across the sound of me. In the night you may find my murmurs in badgers sets, my sighs under the talons of owls. Your lips trumpet in a crenulated O. Utterance is imprinted here, once was, will be. But I am losing my hold. My voice is hoarse, and distant. Echo. Echo.

The beginning. Here am I, thinking. I will collect my thoughts like pansies in the grass.

On structure. On structure.

On the opening of lips,

And of the opening on to, and up:

On plant life walled in plastic;

On the green-cut grass and whining;

On porcelain;

On clay;

On curlew’s wooden wings are paired,

Plied trade, and aching welts;

On the lamplit faces, fag-end lighters;

On the belly-sound in the odyssey’s needle;

On the tree grown limbs of the halo spaces;

On longing, with its mouse-feet fingernails;

On the cartograph eviscerate, all like lacewings, slipping,

Walking,

Down holes like open throats.

On the outside typewritten insecticidal rainways;

On the sets of terms for cow parsley, clover,

Lending lyric structure to each meadow;

On speech unfolding time, and limping licking tongues;

On the every day of sacred texts, and eating;

Thick bolts; of silence, shorn and mastered.

[pause]

So, I am a dark continent.

So, I am a dark continent. So, the breeze runs over my topography. So, my forests dig their roots into my soil.  My springs well up and spill fresh water. My volcanoes erupt. My earthquakes roar. My avalanche. My mudslide. My tornado. The oceans lap at my circumference. The sky arcs over me. I am strata. I am mighty geography. I am geography.

I am geography and I am geomancy. I am the mapping of territories and the eating of soil. I am a contested borderland. I am the soil that roots beneath walls, between picket lines, and barbed wire fences. I am the stone that runs under mountains and the mud that hold rivers to their beds. I am the cornfield and the desert and the machair and the moorland heathers. I am the deciduous woodland and the rainforest and the plantation and the scorched earth and the dump.

So, I am a dark continent. I am limestone and mud, magma and tectonics. I am acres beneath your feet, and my mountains tower vast over your horizon. I dwarf you. Do you wish to know me, now after all these years?

In my belly I hold the past. Dig down into me. Scrape away my topsoil with brushes. Be gentle. Take it grain by grain.

What do you see? Amphora. Coins. Something made of dark metal. Something made of bone.

What do you see? I see a shape in the mud where wood has rotted away. I see the soil a different colour. I see that something has been burnt here.

Dig deeper. Dig deeper. I see things from the past. I see who we were, but might not have been, and could have been again. I see hundreds of years of things lost and thrown away and broken and soiled. I see the detritus of centuries.

Yes. That’s it. Dig softly. Bees and stamens, pollen grains and breezes. What do you have in your mouth, flower? I have mud and blood and clay and spit.

Dig anywhere. Dig anywhere in me. Cut my turf. Stick your spade into my clay. I am bigger than you. You cannot see me. I am my own toes in my own soil. I throw my tongues clack clack, and catch it in my ear.

Here I am at last. An old old woman with dirt between her teeth, swinging her legs. My knees creak. I feel as old as stone. I read the lines on my own hands. They’re thick as rocks, long as faultlines. I am a goddess, old, with wrinkled tights and housecoat. Sticks and stones do make my bones and words come tumbling after. I am Echo, grown old, still lonely, only a voice in the wilderness, calling and calling until I go away, lost in the hollow of a throat. Clack clack, clack clack, and catch it.

My hands are sedimentary

I hear the sound of breathing to the crust’s hushed grate; lush crushed prime in the darkness.

I push against the marks already made, colubrine inveterate as The First Dilemma.

I snake into the limbs and lungs of chasms, form them, push them out as pin-heads in the table top plateau. My granite face is dusky in the firelight, and I hang from all the days and times of marble.

The earth is layered in a systematic mass. Above the reach of my head, spangled through the split ends of my hair, is the geocorona. About my shoulders are two colures, great imaginary disks that intersect at the poles and dip in an inordinate ellipse toward the crust of my naval. The belly crust is thin, and on it rests the world. It itches, like a scab. Beneath it, my flesh is new, pink and raw, untried and vulnerable still. It peels off:

oxygen O

silicon Si

aluminium Al

iron Fe

calcium Ca

sodium Na

potassium K

magnesium Mg

titanium Ti

hydrogen H

phosphorus P

manganese Mn

sulphur S

carbon C

These elements are my mnemonic, holding traces of my memory intact, as bound descriptors. They are my sloughed skin. My belly-button, sunk in flesh. Below it is the hot and molten core of me. Down deep, all fire and liquid heat.

 

When I Am Igneous

I will wrap up. I will turn out. I will move through. I will move up. I will stop out. I will shut up. I will bring back. I will take down. I will move along. I will take up. I will stay in. I will turn down. I will turn up. When I am igneous I will heave and split apart the world, vent forth and tear and burn in red and yellow horror splitting the coast and raining fire upon the surf. And the trees will burn to cinders on my skin, and the air will flame to nothing in my nose, and the night will be incinerated, bleached white and dead by hot compression of my hands. And I will laugh, at the cinders in my hair. When I am igneous.

 

Metamorphic

I am Echo, prophetess of cosmic geomancy. I thumb down the sod with my toes. The eating of clays is a lifetime of seeing; a consummation of time and the geoid span.

Limey morsels dry between my lips, choke my teeth and palette, and I swallow them in clotted lumps. I lick away the sediment with a viscous tongue of story. I am old as Grandmother Spider and as long as the sibylline shadow at my feet. I need no-one

Here I am, Here I am (I am, I am, I am).

I weave, and the clod comes down like something. Grasses matted.

You may see me in a white dress stained by digging, with a mouth the colour of earthworms.

If you were to build me I would be sackcloth and peat stacked on a grate, with my perfume as the scent of the burning.

If you sang me I would be the sound of a spade.

Flower, I miss you.

In the springtime I will germinate. Straining and extending I will root like wild garlic, laying the brick shock of my foundations, feeling the fragrance of my empty cellars taking shape as my walls break the surface. I will stretch my budding roof across the rag of stars.

In the hollow of my front door step I might set a stone, for baking.

 

Igneous

The sound of a spade slicing the topsoil and hitting buried stone two inches down. The surface is a clay-based aggregate, or perhaps slag from the separation of metal and ore.

Picturing: A mind making the sound of this spade, and eyes the colour of the stone.

 

Slate

The undulating landscape and its sheep grazed hills do not unwind

but plough the darkened furrows under stones with hands like thunder.

The horses eat slate under the skies, over the earth.

 

Under the rain we fall together; in the nothing, begun nothing, before nothing.

We look to our own lead filled faces,

our hemp coloured pockets,

and we pull the woollen circumstance like knitting

round the muddy field, our boots slipping in the glutinous clod,

fingers numb and frozen through our thoughts.

 

Peat

My voice has always been there. The earth’s crust is trembling. My voice, fractured and split, calling the tails of your words back to you. You mishear, or do not hear at all.

The valleys swallow speech like a ricochet booming round the hills. The wild woods we wrote are not so wild as they are spoken. There is a kind of thinking that roots in the fingers to grow in the grasses and the mud. There is a kind of thinking that is silent, and has no words. Did you hear me? Did you think I said something else? Are you still there?

Goddess, I pull my coat around me, and step out into the rain. You have given me this, I think, though you cannot know it. I can smell the bracken and the leaf mould, and some other underlying odour – horsehair perhaps, or sweat. I light a cigarette and walk, my heels slipping in the mud. I keep my hands in my pockets, pushed down with my nails sunk into my palms. It’s evening, but the rain has kept the day so dark that there is not much change as the sun begins to set. The path is indistinct, and the grass as it is crushed, bruises shadows at my feet. My cigarette seals my lips, pinking them with faint pressure. I am Echo. I am Echo walking in my land, slipping down my slope, catching my hair on my branch. I am Echo, with a trickle of rain creeping down the neck of my jacket. I am Echo, catching my breath. I am Echo, feeling the creak of wet cotton. I am Echo, with a leak in my boot.

 

The wood is shining with moisture. A thousand tiny mirrors lie in every raindrop splashed on every leaf. Every puddle offers up the sky in miniature. Every sopping bank is swathed in silver. The reflections seem more vivid than the ground that holds them up. The world seems indistinct and dim, and I must walk and walk. The world smells of breathing vegetation. I can feel the valley inhale, filling its lungs, and then release. I am clogged with wet ground and I walk. This is my way. And I think about your yellow hair and your eyes, about your mouth and your skin. I think about you, and the sounds you make on the breeze and the way your bulbs plug down into the soil. I think about the way you move, the way you nod your head. I realise I am nodding at the thought of you, dipping my neck at the shoulders as I walk.

 

Peat

The feeling of peat is a condition of the old.

Peat between your fingers, thick in your nails or your knuckles.

The age of it as it goes to the fire, and the smell; like heavy lace, but sweet.

This is the oldest geomancy, and the longest.

 

Sedimentary

Packed earth is as dense

Down deep,

Around the soft of eyes and throats,

Around the curves of ears and ankles,

As the lungs of a long held breath.

 

There is a funerary loss of the tomorrow.

 

Clay

Stamping the night’s wet notes from their limbs, flattening their hooves on the Earth’s fatness, the horses stand, making the dew come and the world turn. I watch them, and they calm me. The day breaks in pools on their flat backs. Their mole soft lips are gentle reservoirs of erosion. The static of their gorse manes prickle the dawn. This forehead, wider than the span of my hand.

The closing of teeth over clipped turf. The turning and the wrench of blind narcissi roots as the sweet bulbs crush against meat muscle tongues. The sleep-raised heads, with rheumy eyes and sunburnt blazes, wait for the morning to burn off the mist.

 

Limestone

So the life of Echo as a stratified deposit that rises up through the rocks as an aquifer, petrifying her in healing, numbing water.

So the death of Echo as erosion and decomposition, her torso an agent in the acidity of unconsecrated soil, crumbling as limestone crumbles, finally, under pressure.

So the body of Echo as an understanding of landscape. This small goddess, in wrinkled tights and housecoat, who was turned to stone slowly, from the inside out. Slowly she has grown into the mountains and the world, underpinning them, becoming them, joining them.

 

Basalt

Back again. In the hot red lick of angry magma, in the slow drip drip of lonesome stone, the words still bounce in unbidden reverberation. In the dull hiss of the trees there are nonsense rhymes that have no end. No end.  

 

Pare the earth. There is blood beneath the soil,

From which things grow, and

Into which things stick their roots and coil

 

Up out, blood-fed, and still self-loyal;

Pursing, parsing sod to

Pare the earth. There is blood beneath the soil

 

Which feeds the cheap stems and the royal

Oaks of ages up; so

Pare the earth. There is blood beneath the soil,

 

It is a kind of blood placenta boil,

Mud-slick, red-black, and protein-full

Into which things stick their roots, and coil

 

Their tendrils, plump and oiled

With greasy mud

Into which things stick their roots and coil

 

And coil, drawing puddled, meaty soil

Up to our nostrils. Drink that scent. And

Pare the earth. There is blood beneath the soil,

Into which things stick their roots, and coil.

 

No end. In the dull hiss of the trees there are nonsense rhymes that have no end. In the hot red lick of angry magma, in the slow drip drip of lonesome stone, the words still bounce in unbidden reverberation. Back again.

 

Basalt

Slowly she has grown into the mountains and the world, underpinning them, becoming them, joining them. This small goddess, in wrinkled tights and housecoat, who was turned to stone slowly, from the inside out.

So the body of Echo as an understanding of landscape.

So the death of Echo as erosion and decomposition, her torso an agent in the acidity of unconsecrated soil, crumbling as limestone crumbles, finally, under pressure.

So the life of Echo as a stratified deposit that rises up through the rocks as an aquifer, petrifying her in healing, numbing water.

 

Limestone

The sleep-raised heads, with rheumy eyes and sunburnt blazes, wait for the morning to burn off the mist. The turning and the wrench of blind narcissi roots as the sweet bulbs crush against meat muscle tongues. The closing of teeth over clipped turf. This forehead, wider than the span of my hand. The static of their gorse manes prickle the dawn. Their mole soft lips are gentle reservoirs of erosion. The day breaks in pools on their flat backs. I watch them, and they calm me. Stamping the night’s wet notes from their limbs, flattening their hooves on the Earth’s fatness, the horses stand, making the dew come and the world turn.

 

Clay

There is a funerary loss of the tomorrow.

As the lungs of a long held breath.

Around the curves of ears and ankles,

Around the soft of eyes and throats,

Down deep,

Packed earth is as dense

 

Sedimentary

This is the oldest geomancy, and the longest.

The age of it as it goes to the fire, and the smell; like heavy lace, but sweet.

Peat between your fingers, thick in your nails or your knuckles.

The feeling of peat is a condition of the old.

 

Peat

I realise I am nodding at the thought of you, dipping my neck at the shoulders as I walk. I think about the way you move, the way you nod your head. I think about you, and the sounds you make on the breeze and the way your bulbs plug down into the soil. And I think about your yellow hair and your eyes, about your mouth and your skin. This is my way. I am clogged with wet ground and I walk. The world smells of breathing vegetation. I can feel the valley inhale, filling its lungs, and then release. The world seems indistinct and dim, and I must walk and walk. The reflections seem more vivid than the ground that holds them up. Every sopping bank is swathed in silver. Every puddle offers up the sky in miniature. A thousand tiny mirrors lie in every raindrop splashed on every leaf. The wood is shining with moisture.

 

I am Echo, with a leak in my boot. I am Echo, feeling the creak of wet cotton. I am Echo, catching my breath. I am Echo, with a trickle of rain creeping down the neck of my jacket. I am Echo walking in my land, slipping down my slope, catching my hair on my branch. I am Echo. My cigarette seals my lips, pinking them with faint pressure. The path is indistinct, and the grass as it is crushed, bruises shadows at my feet. It’s evening, but the rain has kept the day so dark that there is not much change as the sun begins to set. I keep my hands in my pockets, pushed down with my nails sunk into my palms. I light a cigarette and walk, my heels slipping in the mud. I can smell the bracken and the leaf mould, and some other underlying odour – horsehair perhaps, or sweat. You have given me this, I think, though you cannot know it. Goddess, I pull my coat around me, and step out into the rain.

Are you still there? Did you think I said something else? Did you hear me? There is a kind of thinking that is silent, and has no words. There is a kind of thinking that roots in the fingers to grow in the grasses and the mud. The wild woods we wrote are not so wild as they are spoken. The valleys swallow speech like a ricochet booming round the hills.

You mishear, or do not hear at all. My voice, fractured and split, calling the tails of your words back to you. My voice has always been there. The earth’s crust is trembling.

 

Peat

fingers numb and frozen through our thoughts.

round the muddy field, our boots slipping in the glutinous clod,

and we pull the woollen circumstance like knitting

our hemp coloured pockets,

We look to our own lead filled faces,

 

Under the rain we fall together; in the nothing, begun nothing, before nothing.

The horses eat slate under the skies, over the earth.

but plough the darkened furrows under stones with hands like thunder.

The undulating landscape and its sheep grazed hills do not unwind

 

Slate

Picturing: A mind making the sound of this spade, and eyes the colour of the stone.

The surface is a clay-based aggregate, or perhaps slag from the separation of metal and ore.

The sound of a spade slicing the topsoil and hitting buried stone two inches down.

 

Igneous

In the hollow of my front door step I might set a stone, for baking. I will stretch my budding roof across the rag of stars. Straining and extending I will root like wild garlic, laying the brick shock of my foundations, feeling the fragrance of my empty cellars taking shape as my walls break the surface. In the springtime I will germinate.

 

Metamorphic

Flower, I miss you.

If you sang me it would be the sound of a spade.

If you were to build me I would be sackcloth and peat stacked on a grate, with my perfume as the scent of the burning.

You may see me in a white dress stained by digging, with a mouth the colour of earthworms.

Grasses matted. I weave, and the clod comes down like something.

Here I am, Here I am (I am, I am, I am).

I need no-one. I am old as Grandmother Spider and as long as the sibylline shadow at my feet. I lick away the sediment with a viscous tongue of story. Limey morsels dry between my lips, choke my teeth and palette, and I swallow them in clotted lumps. The eating of clays is a lifetime of seeing; a consummation of time and the geoid span. I thumb down the sod with my toes.

I am Echo, prophetess of cosmic geomancy.

 

When I am igneous.

And I will laugh, at the cinders in my hair. And the trees will burn to cinders on my skin, and the air will flame to nothing in my nose, and the night will be incinerated, bleached white and dead by hot compression of my hands. When I am igneous I will heave and split apart the world, vent forth and tear and burn in red and yellow horror splitting the coast and raining fire upon the surf. I will turn up. I will turn down. I will stay in. I will take up. I will move along. I will take down. I will bring back. I will shut up. I will stop out. I will move up. I will move through. I will turn out. I will wrap up.

 

When I am igneous

I sigh.

Down deep, all fire and liquid heat. Below it is the hot and molten core of me. My belly-button, sunk in flesh. They are my sloughed skin. These elements are my mnemonic, holding traces of my memory intact, as bound descriptors.

carbon C

sulphur S

manganese Mn

phosphorus P

hydrogen H

titanium Ti

magnesium Mg

potassium K

sodium Na

calcium Ca

iron Fe

aluminium Al

silicon Si

oxygen O

It peels off: Beneath it, my flesh is new, pink and raw, untried and vulnerable still. It itches, like a scab. The belly crust is thin, and on it rests the world. About my shoulders are two colures, great imaginary disks that intersect at the poles and dip in an inordinate ellipse toward the crust of my naval. Above the reach of my head, spangled through the split ends of my hair, is the geocorona. The earth is layered in a systematic mass.

My granite face is dusky in the firelight, and I hang from all the days and times of marble. I snake into the limbs and lungs of chasms, form them, push them out as pin-heads in the table top plateau.

I push against the marks already made, colubrine inveterate as The First Dilemma. I hear the sound of breathing to the crust’s hushed grate; lush crushed prime in the darkness.

My hands are sedimentary.

Clack clack, clack clack, and catch it. I am Echo, grown old, still lonely, only a voice in the wilderness, calling and calling until I go away, lost in the hollow of a throat. Sticks and stones do make my bones and words come tumbling after. I am a goddess, old, with wrinkled tights and housecoat. They’re thick as rocks, long as faultlines. I read the lines on my own hands. I feel as old as stone. My knees creak. An old old woman with dirt between her teeth, swinging her legs. Here I am at last.

I throw my tongues clack clack, and catch it in my ear. You cannot see me. I am bigger than you. Stick your spade into my clay. Cut my turf. Dig anywhere in me. Dig anywhere.

I have mud and blood and clay and spit. What do you have in your mouth? Bees and stamens, pollen grains and breezes. Dig softly. That’s it. Yes. I see the detritus of centuries. I see hundreds of years of things lost and thrown away and broken and soiled. I see who we were, but might not have been, and could have been again. I see things from the past. Dig deeper. Dig deeper. I see that something has been burnt here. I see the soil a different colour. I see a shape in the mud where wood has rotted away. What do you see? Something made of bone. Something made of dark metal. Coins. Amphora. What do you see? Take it grain by grain. Be gentle. Scrape away my topsoil with brushes. Dig down into me. In my belly I hold the past.

Do you wish to know me, now after all these years? I dwarf you. I am acres beneath your feet, and my mountains tower vast over your horizon. I am limestone and mud, magma and tectonics. So, I am a dark continent.

I am the deciduous woodland and the rainforest and the plantation and the scorched earth and the dump. I am the cornfield and the desert and the machair and the moorland heathers. I am the stone that runs under mountains and the mud that hold rivers to their beds. I am a contested borderland. I am the mapping of territories and the eating of soil. I am the soil that roots beneath walls, between picket lines, and barbed wire fences. I am geography and I am geomancy.

I am geography. I am mighty geography. I am strata. The sky arcs over me. The oceans lap at my circumference. My tornado. My mudslide. My avalanche. My earthquakes roar. My volcanoes erupt. My springs well up and spill fresh water. So, my forests dig their roots into my soil. So, the breeze runs over my topography. So, I am a dark continent.

So, I am a dark continent.

Sewn in stems, and waiting. At base. And here am I.

Thick bolts; of silence, shorn and mastered.

On the every day of sacred texts, and eating;

On speech unfolding time, and limping licking tongues;

Lent lyric structure to experience;

On the sets of terms for restoration disillusion,

On the outside typewritten insecticidal rainways;

Down stairs like open throats.

Woven,

On the cartograph eviscerate, all like lace and slipping,

On longing, with its mouse-feet fingernails;

On the tree grown limbs of the halo spaces;

On the belly-sound in the odyssey’s needle;

On the lamplit faces, fag-end lighters;

Plied trade, and aching welts;

On curlew’s wooden wings are paired,

On clay;

On porcelain;

On the green-cut grass and whining;

On plant life walled in plastic;

And of the opening on to, and up:

On structure. On structure. On the opening of lips,

The beginning. Here am I, thinking. I will collect my thoughts like pansies in the grass.

Echo. Echo. My voice is hoarse, and distant. But I am losing my hold. Utterance is imprinted here, once was, will be. Your lips trumpet in a crenulated O. In the night you may find my murmurs in badgers sets, my sighs under the talons of owls. Your pollen blows across the sound of me. In the soil you may find me whispering, in mushrooms. You are a splash of colour in springtime, brief and overlooked. I am a voice spread low over the hills. You are growing wild among the wild garlic. I am lost in the wind. You are a fading bloom by a forgotten waterway. I am Echo.

It has taken a long time. My throat is my own and the glottal stops flop without cease, without care, without story. I have cut myself loose. I am full of your words, too many. More. No more. And no more. I have spent an immortal lifetime swallowing your words, and spitting them back. The words that make me who I am build me in their mass and weight. Here. I am as wide as skies. And as I leave I look over my shoulder, resting my chin on the mountain. Where did they go? My hands are translucent, and fading. I am a scuff mark, your footprint on wet shingle; who spoke this way before? I am un-remembered, as are you. I am a dream of something. Yours, perhaps. The mist is full of absent throats. The glen is full of whispered words, spoken elsewhere and thrown back. I let you. You flower, briefly, by my pools. I am become this place. My veins are thick with ringing minerals. I am heavy, grown stiff and calcified.

I am wedded, at last. And the water grows fat from my milk. I cup my lips to the shale and drink. I am suckled by the cracks between the hills. I suckle the land that I am. Breasts and moss. Wrists and heather. Hair and damp earth. Skin and soil. Thighs and peat. My throat is pressed against bark, under rain-laden thighs. My fingers grow into the soil. The land opens itself to my body. My body opens itself to the land.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am Echo.

I am old as stone. You are brief. We hardly ever touch. Every year I see you bloom and die. Under the ground you lie, bulbous and dormant, poking your yellow head above the soil in spring and nodding nodding, only to crumple, fade, and turn to mulch. You are my pale and perishable lover. Above the earth below the sky, caught in the pines like a bag on a bough, rustling. I am an Echo.

Genius Loci. Echo.