Out and about


This is not the contented solitude
Of my deep woods, quiet lanes, familiar fields.
Out there, alone, I have no time to brood:
My mind’s too occupied. Truth is revealed
When all the clamour of the world’s shut out,
With breeze and birdsong all that I can hear;
The earth beneath my boots dispels all doubt,
While under ageless oaks I know no fear.
No, this is different. This is being lost
And lonely, wondering how the hell I came
To be here, at this time, and at what cost –
And wishing there was someone else to blame.
For now there’s work to do. I’ll hold on tight
Until I take that homeward road tonight.

Rondeau: Forest ways

The forest ways wind endlessly,
Through grass and gorse, by twisted tree,
Far-seeing ridge where wild winds blow
Deep dells where secret waters flow,
And there is no one here but me.

From Camp Hill Clump to Friends I see
No living soul: there’s liberty
And solitude for those who know
The forest ways.

There’s work that I should really be
Engaged in now, but truancy
Stirs in my restless mind and so
I’ll pull on boots and coat, and go
To walk once more, alone and free,
The forest ways

From Brittany #1

Il fait du brouillard

The blinded lighthouse
Calls out in the gloom
Its foghorn telling the misty minutes
Like a doleful speaking clock.

There’s a Hebridean sting of salt
In the sea-smoke wrapped around the headland
Like a scarf; and the summer beaches
Are veiled and secret, empty, Arctic white.

The gulls and waders could tell me
Where I am; beneath the sky-cloak
They chatter heedless, brash and jeering,
Safe in their local knowledge.

Not that I’m asking. A dog, the dunes
And the distant booming of the surf
On the reefs far out are all the signs I need:
I am here. Now. And all is well.