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Blackberries

In the cool chill of a morning
Dew-lapped, birch bark curling proud and the scent of autumn
I whistled my name to the still sky
Uncertain
Of fields full sleeping,
Black tears wept
In rabbit-paw copses dreaming by the old pond
As the sun drew blood
And my feet
Turned and drifted me in a calling.

Then I had a brother,
Moulded in the songs of infancy, full of delight,
And my spark touched fire and burnt his face
And we shrieked
To our mother’s song
In a bundling of frenzy
And ran for the dark oak by the barbed wire fence
To scrabble and duck
In our youth
Into the summered joy of the hunt

Running with the airy limbs
Of children playing castles in the green of the woods
And the wild sunshine smiles of the chased
Past hazel,
Shadow of hawthorn,
The horse-mushroom patch and tree
Where the high pigeon stood its calls on the air
And there was I free
Of myself
And in myself most freely given

As we lightly played out our lives
In the emptiness of our understanding
And troubled not the trees nor the world
With our weight
Of unseeing years :
And the morning was unspoken,
Unbroken, kissed by unseen hands controlling this
The new-born moments
Together
Tumbled into childhood’s fractured bliss

Until we found a stony track,
Drifted slow with switches flicking, broke the hollow back
Of time, dawdled on a mystery,
Spun our purpose,
Stretched out our living rhyme
And walked towards our destiny:
And there, beneath worn bones standing guard on fear
Where time had told
We began,
Beating out our song in morning’s light …..

And we strode like giants
Into the captured land our slung sticks framed,
Gathering silences for inspection,
Dissection,
Long-lost reflection
In the loneliness of quiet
Carved from the sun-buzzed nested briars our tired limbs made:
Until, at long last worn,
We were done:
Had called the day, and won the morn.

2004?

This is a memory of childhood and a huge nest of briars guarded by tall, bleached, dead trees into which we would have to beat a route. And as the heat rose we’d pick in companionable silence amidst the buzzing flies and wasps.

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