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I’m climbing hills today
in one, effete poet’s way
they could be metaphors
for all sorts of ‘big life things’
but in another, my belly
is about to give my knees
some trouble

The sepia on this one’s different
there was sometimes bitterness
in steps made here
as the lure of the theme park rides
sat so near
but the years have done a lot
to replace the roller coaster thrill
with the heart weight of hills,
dales and rivers with tales to tell

You remember I mentioned
the metaphor?
And the belly troubling the knees?
Well these things came to pass
as I hauled my carcass up the hill
turning the air blue

The metaphor? Decisions
that once were natural,
easy like breathing
now can feel laboured, burdened
when a step is placed
how can I be sure the ground will hold?

Even at the peak, where I once
could exhale at the majesty of a job well done
I’m now fraught with the thought
of the journey down

This river is different
at home the stream accompanies me
on local walks, showing me the known
and keeping my chin up

Here, the bold broadness of the river
hides secrets and speaks in a deeper tongue
coarse fish, familiar to me
are replaced by those that anglers prize

I am both lost and a little more alive

Looking into the faces
of teenagers dressed for town centres,
either striding ahead
or shambling behind
parents intent on extolling
the virtues of fresh air and nature
while feeling strangely out of breath at the climb

closer in, the adolescent eyes show
a plethora of emotion
contempt, depression, longing
utter conviction that life is happening
somewhere, anywhere else

but if I may offer some advice: relent
as in a few blurred years
you’ll succumb to the same fossilisation
and will need some routes to remember

I started in the shadow of one of God’s many houses,
fat plums on common ground offered themselves,
taut, bruise-purple skin still pristine
for maybe two, three more weeks

Walking on, a burst fig signaled
fresh green torn
scandalously showing fleshy insides
that should be kept private
for lovers, gourmands, gluttons

All the while, intermittently,
the straight line train drones by,
keeping Presbyterian hold
on passing passengers
who through unopened windows
cannot smell, hear or taste the divine

All the while the crickets sang of being


All the while the crickets scored my steps
until ahead, nettle and dog rose conversations
conspired to thwart this man’s,
any man’s,
attempts to walk straight and true

A detour took me from the soft lost chaos of grasses
to tight lawns, hard front doors,
dark-ish satanic mills making wheat biscuits
and the ever sad chorus of a million tyres

Nearing home, a young rabbit’s boldness held
until too close, melted away

in the managed parkland
dragonfly truths called, m’ ducks
dragonfly truths called

— The End —