‘Nature has a patient ear’

—Wendell Berry

The window is clammy with dew, amber where the sun has struck

that corner of the house. The garden lies in shade like a lover left to thrash

in lies and flowerbeds, cold earth. The tips of the aspens are stealing

from sleep’s dreamy web into helpless oxygen. Jackdaws cry

under visceral skies, erase the riptide of loneliness

that shadows our better nature. Weeds flutter in chimney pots

across a field of rooftops. Each house is a trove shining with possibility.

*

Shadows the length of a GAA pitch, an old clock towering under

the ripple of ivy. The grass is patchy as memory, gold with the windfall

of broken leaves. Stray limbs prove the yellow warning,

gales that scratched the glass all night. Blades of light, little miracles

of technicolour. What path are we taking? Whose meandering verges

are we being led by? Does it lead to safety? Fear is in the clear

understanding of not knowing anything but where to go for strong coffee.

*

In the park the light’s a mesh, a tangle of briars and muddy thorn.

Crushed seed sustains the blow of wandering lost in life’s momentum.

We leave the market tearing croissants, sipping peace in snatched silence.

Birds scuffle in the undergrowth, make our bodies come alive.

Allow that stipend of sky to embolden us like children, drawn down to the nub.

Something escapes our attention, makes us look where we’d never.

The heart of the matter is rough with life, coated in fur.

*

Impulse leads to a straight line drawn from A to B, blurry

with expectation. Open up the mind and those restrictions

pass for opportunity. The thick copse gives way to other clearings,

winter grass cooling our feet. Seen from above we forge a way

but at eye level the world’s a hush of ears and cinnabars. Thoughts vanish.

All rises to greet the lone traveller, including rain-filled potholes

whose frictions open like portals. Nothing is predictable or certain.

*

The beach curves away like a boomerang, comes back to what we know.

Among trinkets on the sand a shell lipped in seawater

holding up a mirror. Footprints crisscross with the road not taken,

whole advancements swept aside by the creeping blue.

Who can tell who’s been where if we ghost through life humming

to knackered skies? A lifejacket’s made of air, only works

if we sink beyond ourselves. Silence carries beyond all knowledge.