Dormant warrens thronged and gasped in the clay;
Trees groped empty space, hung with wilting flesh;
A pond sat stagnant, scummed, long rid of joy –.
Autumn’s slow coil had caught me in its crush.
Yet, for all the shapes of decay and grief,
No wails or groans gave sound to the pain,
Not even a twitch told the slightest strife,
All writhings were locked in an ugly mien.
They were locked – diseased limbs and drawn faces –
Near their sad drop’s end, on the verge of lull.
Withheld was death’s allaying catharsis.
Preserved was agony, silent and still.
And I was all the warmth and life around
To breathe and beat against the frozen air,
Except for a rabbit with matted eyes
That fumbled and fell in the mud.
* * *
Above, the ailing sun had drooped and spewed
Its sickly amber on the sky; a cold,
Quiet blast of waned might, gathered and heaved,
Before its final fall below the world.
And I was all the warmth and life on earth.
Bright cities of gardens and art, crowds thrilled
On their victory march, my homely hearth –
All dropped before the sun and left that mould.
Pushing into my ears, the grim coil closed,
And I was all the warmth and life that was;
Childhood games, old flames, cooed words memorised
Did their colour, voice and likeliness lose.
So, I stood alone on that lonely plain,
That scrap set to sink with the sun’s last moan,
That waste that was all that ever had been,
Expecting the end and wanting it soon.
* * *
Then all illusions, high and low, were cracked
When, from a hedge-hid road, a yob’s car hacked,
Enforcing plain old truth, neutral and slacked,
And my next meal tapped at my brain.
Image Credit: Francesca Nava