|Jul/Aug 2006 Poetry|
This landscape is more playful than we thought.
Outcrops of grubby wool disguise themselves
as boulders. Flocks of bracken-bedded granite
masquerade as sheep.
Wind scours the valley and our cheeks
in whipcracks, hissing that we're in its way,
hinting at all the things that it would love
to do to us and all we love, if we'd oblige it
for a century of crows and rain.
The tors pretend that time was wrestled
to a standstill long ago, but all these scarps
and fissures are no more than laughter-lines
of four ice ages, planetary crow's feet.
There may be half an hour of daylight left.
We slog on up to Belstone, nursing fallacies
while sheep, warm islets, dream against
the slaty wind. Soon stars will laugh
through rents in cloud at stone's pretensions.
Chapel of Rest
A midday bat, goaded from sleep by spring's
reluctance, veers and banks across
this warming acre. I recall another
time-slipped scrap of twitchy darkness
madly orbiting late one October,
when the grudging light stamped pines
and cedars black against a slab of sky,
while inside a simulated house
I strained to catch the dimming echoes
of the other person in the room,
somebody who had urgent business
somewhere else, and not with me.