For Sheila and Roger
Let us go then, you and I,
to gape at sunsets spread across the sky,
that meld and mold into valleys deep,
Let us peer into golden light,
as it bends and curls and day becomes night.
It’s pathway winds a fluorescent glow,
urging me forward; look what is far below:
leaf tips catch and bend light’s last rays,
I sigh and smile, my day is complete.
It’s time to rest,
My mind; surfeit.
And, at the rail others come and go,
talking of facebook and twitterflow.
But alas, no sleep will to me come,
Instead, my mind pounds a familiar drum.
Illusory vines strangle my calm,
twisting and turning till their track engraves my arm.
Tumbling cascades wash sense to the floor,
as ridges wind and disappear, and I can sleep no more.
I surrender, gnarled toes touch the floor.
The kettle boils and I pour.
A cup of tea. That will do.
The sun will rise
in an hour or two.
And, at my window, the moon comes and goes,
washed clear by cloud and misty glow.
I walk the short stretch to the concreted leap,
to the see the sun rise, another night’s defeat.
But today, no sun greets my sojourn.
Instead, nature has taken a wintery turn.
I can feel the weather kiss my skin.
It lifts my hair and settles, paper-thin.
It digs and pokes at my ageing pins,
till the morning chill seeps right in.
I roll my neck from side to side,
hands and fingers knead and chide,
urging me to sit some more. To wait.
To watch. Perhaps the mist will abate
and the sun will a spring day create.
I sigh and shift, and shift some more
till crick and crack. Perhaps no more?
Aah, I grow old … I grow old.
My slippers are snug, and my trousers rolled.
The mist swirls and sculpts with magic craft,
I watch and gasp as cleft sandstone gleams.
I’m clearly old, gone doddery and daft
These mountainous folds are no valley anew,
But an ancient land from which stories grew.
It beckons me to tell its tale,
but alas, that’s a mission I’m destined to fail,
For I am no Eliot, Astley or White,
just a woman wanting to write.
The silver mist that rolls and dances on sandstone cliffs,
the icy spray blown askance on a vertical drift,
a ballet of sprites that leap whisper thin,
then linger and land softly, softly. Ready to begin.
Toes arch and bend, fingers and wrists in perfect form.
Practiced, or impromptu?
Do they have a pattern imprinted upon their memory?
Which way to roll: left, right, up, down?
Or do they step in careful observance
as a conductor waves and points in gusts and swirls:
allegro, adagio, plie.
And at the lookout the tourists come and go,
clicking and posting, Insta, tic tok; an endless flow.
But this is no galleria to shuffle through,
to smile, pout, converse and compare.
But a colour wheel of blues and greys and muted hues,
a rainbow of green and gold and ochre glare.
The mist conjures a menu of everchanging light,
it masks and shields, lifts and takes flight.
I peer into perfection. And then, it’s gone.
Each day must end and I’m left forlorn.
I sigh. I count my days. How many more shall I see?
Before I too cannot walk and wander, my body free.
I think of friends, whose clipped accents no longer echo,
whose wise words and path I was eager to follow,
I am sad. For absent friends, for those who cannot,
For those who will not and those that do not.
Perhaps I can I call the mist and light, a show just for me
I shall point and exclaim and enthuse with glee,
My friends will ooh and aah and click and post.
And on their page the posts will come and go,
sculpting a facade worthy of Michelangelo.
But, I do not think it will dance for me.
That is not it.
That is not what I meant at all.
I have seen it dancing on granite tops,
as flannel flowers bend and wave,
as the wind sings and howls on rocky outcrops.
It creeps and lingers in a hidden cave,
and curls and laps at the feet of mighty trees,
as autumn burns and spring unfurls,
at summer’s birth, and as winter flees,
it writhes and licks, cavorts and curls,
It does not come at my behest.
Like sleep it tempts; quite a jest.
It rolls and shrouds, heavy and grey,
then pirouettes and slips away.
Clear blue skies emerge, pristine and new,
As a fiery ball lifts and pierces the hue,
baking my eyeballs and burning my skin,
more wrinkles to add to my double chin.
I retreat, along my well-worn path,
my body now succumbed to nature’s wrath,
It’s time to go, to return to the flow.
To lift my pen, to stop and retire.
I look at my words, paltry and thin,
another collection for the bin.
But before I do, I take one last look
Nature’s beauty at every nook.
The mist, the sun, it comes, it goes,
If only I were Michelangelo!
* In the style of T.S. Eliot. The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock, Collected Poems 1909-1962 (1963)
Photo by Author. Megalong Valley from Medlow Bath Dec 2021