Sky develops watercolour grey,
some offered remains
seeping through the evening,
loose and running down
This road to night gyrates,
the bus clock reflected
in the emergency glass
suggesting that slumber
May be good and right.
Towns creak with memory,
the necessity of travel
Bringing everyone back home,
where childhood surrounds
forgotten glens, hidden hills.
We cosied out our own alcove
as waves dug in from the bay.
Terraced house, planted
in the snug of the south,
a woman’s voice coming through
like warm, milky tea,
the rattle-rag-tag bag of glasses,
song and friendly heckle
all taken from the same throats.
We sit where we can,
logistics of friendships
mapped out around tables,
dear old hands reaching ours,
new cheeks given out for the kiss,
spotlight of mother tongues
by the fireside. Some crown us
the friendliest nation there is
and tonight we’re proving it.
The way inside is always thin,
a needle eye, a bobby pin
of gravel, leaf, with grass tramped down,
the first few steps into a lawn.
On either side lie solid trees
that stand as still as loyal sentries,
their season’s silence never broken
despite the breeze, branches shaking.
You hear the beat before the sight,
the trickle beyond the first gate.
Old movements will get attention,
the water’s call for inspection.
You’ll never know you’re in the heart
until you feel the darkness start:
tree-lined shadows, cloistered tree rings
and then, surprise, sudden clearing.
All avenues held together
by single thread of wild river.
The slow trek by the riverbank,
admire its foam, its light, its inks
indelible upon the reeds
and then, see ducks, in rows of three;
behind them, lines of broken Vs,
ahead of us, the watchful trees.
Inclined to climb away from this
to lofty heights, adventurous
and daring more, with every step,
our breath is somewhere up the slope
with everywhere, the silhouettes
of grounds we have not gone to yet.