On Leaving Europe: Alnwick Garden August 2016 (C) KS ACOTT

In the dry days after Fifty
We watch a church tower in the mist

Twisting its way here
And kindness hurts. We wonder:

Is this why we drift, why we hunt?

There are things I can't ask here
In this privileged place.

There are things I can't feel here
In this precipitant place. We wonder:

Does it matter, will it ever matter?

It's not the harsh caw of the crow
That visited me in my young bedroom

Resurrected: no, it's not that.
And it's not the purr purr of the cat

Which died, belying its name
And returning to its mother:

Not that either.

What then? What created this forest
Of endings, of curse and claw?

Was it the black noise of others going about
Whatever their business may be?

Perhaps, though sound no longer comes from outside

So: not that. There are times I feel the edge
Of the world. Maybe the edges of all our selves

Are drawn far too well? In the days after Fifty
The church tower in the mist

Works its way here like an old cat.
Kindness hurts

And Leonard says Marianne is dead.

So. Don't list for me all the good things I've done,
A balance-sheet smudged, illegible, cruel:

We each find the meaning that's already in the world
And that's why the Frenchmen are so wrong.

Yes: I could still go to Paris, I could wander
The streets of the 9th, take photos of my past

Or I could head for Trieste, hold the hand of history
Or: maybe I could just stand and let nature turn around me

And then head back?

Yes. That's it. That. That's It.
There are so many things we shouldn't ask

In the dry days after Fifty
And so many more ways home.