This poem is taken from Stand 223, 17(3) September - November 2019.

Alice Hiller Poem

From 1396, the stone used to build much of Oxford University was dislodged from Headington Quarry by means of tools with flat steels head fixed to long wooden poles, known as a puggles.

on the top of the hill where children climb trees tropical fish once swam in warm shallow water. when they died or were killed their bones floated down and were pressed into whiteness. over years this whiteness became hard. in time the water flowed away and trees began to grow above it but the whiteness waited. finally people who lived at the bottom of the hill heard a knocking within their minds – telling them to climb to the top of the hill with their puggles and cut the whiteness free. the whiteness was carried down the hill in carts and spoke to the hammers and the chisels of the people then rose up through them into tall towers.  these towers demanded the tongues of bells to ring out the bright colours of the fishes over all the land.
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image