That summer you could see the heat, all shade
and midges and evenings. The roads were dry.
Past nightfall you could hear the engines in
the fields and, in between, the sound of crickets
loud and calm beneath the star. Each morning had
a silence that the birds did not disturb,
and early cool and dampness and sun on
the path that led towards the washing line
– the high light – told every day of heat
and secrets, even, in the woods behind
the house. And when you held my hand as we
were walking, or sat with me in long grass,
or read downstairs while I was changing by
our window, there was a breathlessness,
as sense of something waiting to be found
though it had neither weight nor form nor sound.
Devon or Cornwall
Do I remember Devon, Cornwall maybe?
A holiday with parents’ friends, a hotel
on offer, two for one, and children in
the garden. Grey stone and white window frames,
dark glass hiding cool wide rooms, table cloths
as white and flat as snow on open fields,
and a welsh dresser laid with cotton sheets.
Outside the sun reflected on the sea
and on the lawn the children played their games.
I have no wish to know that place. I do
not care to know if it was true, with whom
we were or when. I am content to think
of it, to feel that half-remembered warmth;
the green of dunes below a garden’s edge
a sun-greyed sand with heat removed by wind
and the sound of waves ending on a beach.
I can’t remember anything I’ve done.
Not walking down my lane with blossom strewn
across the floor, or having things explained,
or sitting in the back exhausted again.
Some things that friends have told me disappear.
There’re other times when I’ve forgotten what
I’m saying half way through, and trying not
to let it show, I’ve stumbled on or changed
the subject. Getting up and getting dressed.
You know those things too my friend. Intimately well.
So when you’re dangling somewhere feeling absent,
disconnected, hopeless even, pull the chord.
You know that I’ve been waiting for you here.
We’ll go into the dark together now.