In the hanging trees, the shrivel-fruit are dark
as no-moon and bitter as sloes, black the shadows,
pinched, a dead hand’s grip.
Through the leaf-rustle I wade
though briar’s cruel canes bar the way,
fox tracks too low, too narrow for me to pass,
and the air moves above my head
in feathered waves of startled pigeons,
clattering from their roost.
They tell me I will find you on the bald hill,
rabbit-cropped turf, dark beneath the no-moon,
where the owls sing to lure the stars.
They tell me I may not like what I find,
but still I take the cold path, no choice but to follow,
though your only sweetness be lilies.