The wild garlic this year amongst the bluebells
is prolific, pungent as parable. For months now
we’ve gathered leaves and starry flowers for salads,
soups, sandwiches; better for the heart even than roses.
Everyone we love will leave us eventually,
or we’ll leave them. That’s what the wise vicar
said at that wedding blessing all those years ago.
Knowing that, how can I not love you fully?
Reading The Wild Places
And look how it all in the end
falls back into silence:
these walls, the battles ceded or ‘won’
(as if we don’t all lose);
the fertile fetch between us
quiet as the deserts
I read yesterday how many tons
of photons strike us in the course of one day –
how we’re more ‘gap
Later, on the causeway
glimpsing the kingfisher stitch light
back across the mudflats,
I remembered that a Manx shearwater
in its life flies as far as the moon
and back; but us –
I may kiss your mouth today,
molecule to dancing molecule;
what’s most real within me
might remain unlaunched;
may never make the leap between
my heart’s dark lonely nebula
That day we sat on the hand-hewn crude
oak bench in mild September sun
at the top of the Teign: Hunters’ Wood,
where the rowans splashed crimson
the slant light’s opaline threshold,
a prefiguring of the blood
which we didn’t see then
would have to be shed, where you’d need
to be strong to survive the descent
into holy darkness. I remember leaves
crisp underfoot; the voice of the river;
and I remember the single white deer
almost not glimpsed as she, brief visitor,
flowed into and out of our world
as if to answer a promise
you’d made at your birth,
as if you’d come back to find her.
Poetry again after such an absence,
the house quiet, looking out at the courtyard,
its many leaves fat with gratefulness for this spring,
for rain; a bullfinch swaying like a tropical blossom
on the pot choked with seeding cranesbill, one
thrush, a late swallow checking out the eaves, rain
making the woods more distant and impenetrable,
its tap on the stone step an invitation. The valley’s hush.
Rain settling in like conversation between
lifelong friends; rain, plants, stone, birds
at ease with themselves and each other, at ease
with how the world needs to be.
Reading poetry as she’s dying
because there is nothing else to do. Rain
blurs the day’s horizontal hurry and to sit
here and do nothing is of course also a decision.
How something so small and so close to
unconsciousness can give so much
of herself to being still so engaged
with the world, with so much attention –
leftovers from the turning inward and away
with so much more heft still than ours.
At the feeder the young woodpecker
shrieks each time he pecks, which draws
the magpie to see him off, over and over.
There is being born, there is dying,
there is the flickering fullness between,
and there is, after everything, renewal.
Nothing more in the world today than this
small corner, the dog’s tight-shut eyes,
her chest still rising and falling,
the darkish exuberance of this new spring rain.