Thursday, February 02, 2006


So we walked at night across the big winter fields
your hand small but warm in mine.

I told you all the important things I knew
like the air being colder in the bottom of the hollow
and why the mist forms there
and what this land looked like a hundred years ago
and where the valley ends.

We watched the trains running along the embankment;
glowing caterpillars dusting the dark with yellow light and electric flash,
then under the echoey bridge and out to the crest where
an east wind bit our ears with sharp teeth
and the black dog, invisible, chased scents across the field.

But it was the trees I remember most;
we stood before them as they spoke
the fluttered gutterals of winter leaf
tongued by the brittle wind.

So real were the cadences of speech,
that you were almost scared but drawing close you rode
the wave of imagination till it broke
and we spoke longingly of snow or rain
that this wild language might foretell.

The clouds were pregnant with a heavy darkness,
distant views dissolved but then reformed.
Leaf prophecies lay unfulfilled as we returned to streetlamp order,
a dog walking to lead,
and cocoa with a curl of cream
on top.

(c) A McN


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