These things have sorted themselves, somehow,
into the same place in my mind, a place
not so much lit, exactly, as not utterly black—
as when, in no matter how large a space,
a single candle alters the absoluteness of dark.
That lobelia lives there, self-sprung from last year’s
window-box, pushing its white-hearted
sapphire-startling single bloom up
through the crack in the grey pavement
on the same street where a solemn child
stands steadily regarding me, staunch
in his Spiderman pyjamas, a local colossus,
red wellies planted, arms folded across
his chest. He is unencumbered by himself,
like the girl who skips from the shopping centre
on white-socked legs, out of the fluorescent blare
into a clear-falling, indigo April dusk,
her mother bustling but the little girl skipping
and singing out her greeting, hello Mr Moon!
And then there is the way the sun,
rolling down a winter sky of cautious blue,
suddenly backlights the moss which pads
the top stones of the lane wall, so that the slim
stalks which rise from the soft plump green
are red-gilded, alchemised by light;
or the way the blackbird is making a pulpit
out of the telegraph pole, threading all time
along his song and into this moment: now,
falling into forever; a beatitude of song.
And of course there is you, and the way,
as you sit cross-legged on the carpet, intent
on programming my new telly—the one I’ve
neither will nor patience to understand—the way
I see back through telescoped years to where
a small boy, ungrazed by time, is rapt in story.
And when delight or tenderness flower, thus,
in my throat, the tears are a libation for small things,
and how they reach us. Changing no worlds,
they change them entirely: a miscellany of handholds,
a school for thankfulness—a way, in fact, to keep breathing.
First published in The Eildon Tree 32, April 2019.