Numerals on a Mass Dial, Covenham St Marys, Lincolnshire

A carpenter bee, an
ignorant lodger
enters the space that
once housed the gnomon,
but now holds her mud tube
of eggs, where a lime-washed
splinter of ash was
removed with a tweezer,
by the Reverend S. Bateman.

Well then, might it be
a carpenter who once
carved out these numerals,
as he would for a rafter:
two inverted ‘V’s on the
rim of the dial face, lines
rudely cut in the hard chalk
to the point where they meet,
and not from it; not mason,
not the ‘ignorant sculptor’
that you thought, Henry Dryden.

Now, outside the locked church,
not clergy or craftsmen,
two sun-struck and curious
men come together.
Casting their thoughts here,
laying conversation,
watching the bee fly,
chiselling politely their
crude joint of theory
to well fit the day.

By Diane Seddon

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