Passing time

How slight are the shreds of passing time!

The name in the visitor's book,

notes about birds flying on migration,

scraps of verse written on a flyleaf.

The things we do happen and pass by

like the sounds of children playing on a Sunday afternoon,

landscape vision outspread beside a rail track,

the flowing river around whose bends we cannot see.


I remember this morning rising at five,

sticking my head out of the window

hearing the fresh songs shrilling in the dawn

and the sweet air purged of man.

I remember the car ride, the roar of tyres on the empty road,

my sitting on the seat and the poise on the camber.

There was mist floating above the heather in the forest

and gulls flew from their roosts

in long lines of birds skeined across the sky.

The air was strange, a mystery

unfolding a clean, new day, some sort of secrecy.

The light opened before us like an unknown chorus

chanting the lay of the dawn.

The sun rose wild, steeling the air,

giving a tempered edge to the day

At nine I was fifteen miles away

eating my breakfast

and it all seemed a dream

of years agone.