Red Berries

Treading the grey forest of my childhood's dreams

where, melancholic under ghostly beech,

metallic hollies stand around

and frost crisped leaves rustle

to disclose wet humus unfrozen on the ground

the sudden discovery of a half iced pool

reawakens old moods under a carapace of time


The dusk is burying the snowclad heath

and frozen air chills cheeks to flame the face

before the waiting hearth

wind clapped branches suddenly feather snow in air

and puddles, wholly ice, lift like plates from moulds

The wild beats of pony hooves ring like a bell the hardened land.


Here in the fawn twigged woods

with the rare squirrel and the straggling tit flock

hurrying to glean last morsels from the naked twigs

old perspectives emerge among cold sentinels

empty trees netting the tide turned sky


Visiting the winter forest is like

rising at six of a Christmas morning

shivering down a cup of tea

walking the snow muffled streets to the cold church

for a piece of bread and a sip of wine

the fire below the altar suddenly

taking blood red berries home


1970. Revised from 1954?