Dark flurries over roofs and swaying trees,
against the rosy evening, rise, swoop, dip and glide, slide
on barely beating wings along the fluent wind,
the earth below held cold in sudden shadow,
of damp grass and dank air, and the sky
floats north above the fallow valley
on the ceaseless stream receding
over wooded hills to cliffs and crags of other sunlit clouds
along the earth’s rim
Sometimes in memory I see
those boundless skylines, hilltop woods and distant knots of trees
whose echoes linger on the sky; a rutted road
receding over folding hills
beneath a burning sun.
And as the memory expands and grows I see
an afternoon progressing through the hours of heat,
golden haze upon the stippled corn, a silence
counterpointed only by the song of skylarks and the drone of bees
and all the creatures which abound
among the stalks.
Yes, reaching back, the memory grows weak
as I attempt to see to evening and the setting sun
bestow a ray of gold on every bush, on every leaf,
the haze dispersing – colour, texture, shape of sun and shadow growing sharper
more distinct; the dots of trees along a distant ridge, the flawless downs,
the hilltop camps arranged in cosmic silence seem to gain
a power greater even than before and all of time
is held within a point of timelessness.
Yet memory alone cannot retain
what moved so long ago through head and heart and feet, I just recall
as clouds process across the western sky,
a sense of hope.