The Voice in the Wind
A muffled parcel of oak and birch,
beech and I, drawn here for refuge.
Brittle as bells, leaves peal out
– a round – wind-wrung, each peal an end
and a start. A silence of snow falls.
Traces pass. Bright, bleary, gone.
A layering of pasts, the path
that splits the copse, a spill of scar and pock,
markers of disease, and war
with brine and thorn. A way
perpetually lost and won,
way of wounds and death and bearing.
A clearing – a slippery mouth –
a gape-worm throat, choking
in its own mud, on teeth
gouged from pagan flint.
A dome of tongues, the leaves here,
retracting at each lash of wind.
And from out of the wind, a voice.
The kitchen clock is ticking.
The cat purrs before the fire.
Around my feet, snow puddles.
A leaf falls from my coat,
cup-shaped, tempered by tempest.
Improbable barque, sail-less,
without wind, compass, crew,
it launches across the pool,
impelled by the reflection of a flame,
flickering against its hull.