A Dark Circumfrence
What struck was the possibility—the poolthere, its surface imprecise but contained,a veil to pass through as you followed yourselfinto the past. Not left to chance, and no suddenflash of coincidence; what you thought or wishedI'll never really know, all you said was:there's always the possibility.
And you tossed a few coins that came closerto landing on the fountain's stone-lipped step;I watched them recede like winter stars.We'd been alone in that placefor what felt the longest time.There was nothing left to give.And I knew you were already taken. [End Page 37]
The Silent Flock
Nothing disturbs. The sheep flatter themselvesin that they are themselves and leafy hazels,though young, are old enough to be self-contained.
Some hills rise more gently where others slope;green is the greatest of comfortersand sun that yields from cloud.
A distance from shed or house, the river is home.Water and grass feed the silent flockwhere loosestrife and moss mural stones.
There are no boats. No bells. No wind.Breath by breath these creatures come and go.Without emptiness, without fuss. [End Page 38]
A specific kind of light takes on new workthese mornings, sudden and wet, a little dazedas it wakes and takes its tired self from the mountain. The nest it leaves shivers in the salt-blown scrub.
I am drawn to where it walks, its shuffle and switheralong the river. Man or woman, I cannot tell but it holdsa cup of grass between its hands, some linnet eggs:pale blues and purples, a tatter of brown spots.
Like a fish or a fox, it has no interest in me and moves on.By accident, at the edge of the river's bed, I find warmstones among the cool, not unearthed or abandoned,just here—the sun-streaked water running over them. [End Page 39]
Against the light these bonesare almost see-through,
the last of what feathered themhas long since blown away.
Too fragile for the wind'scoarse touch,
you leave the fan of softenedchalk back to the landscape
you found it in—an upturned nest,the slow composition of trees.
An irregular heartbeat struggles,begins to breathe life in your head. [End Page 40]
Up they grow, the narrow lane fused with birchand spindle, to meet the sky and one another.Limbs cross limbs and leaves brush handssilent as girls with the wind in their hair.
An unseen stream releases muffled static,like a wireless heard from a kitchen's window-sill;the throat of a sparrow clears one notethat will rise to a fuzzing light.
And you bring me asphodels. Simple and vivid,a dozen or more pink-whites and yellows.Spring nurses you.I wake to listen. [End Page 41]
The round crop of blocks season by the river's bend.They won't be hauled yet, house to house,on the back of a trailer.
Pins of sunlight emerge from cloud and crimpthe river's surface, the space around the timber;amber shimmers from out-of-reach places.
How often I saw one man this summertaking his axe up to put it down;with a stronger sun above him, he was braille-faced.
Each time the axe larked, he pulled a hand acrosshis brow and looked in the direction of the road;I couldn't read anything about him.
By dusk, the field was rich, fragrant grassand resin; the wood piled, good as money,near the blood-warm, trespassed gate. [End Page 42]