I remember so much that never was, childish reconstructions of stories of how it was, re-imaginings so vivid they may as well be true, of emigrating across a dark grey sea, the old house on the hill, an army of my mother’s fellow art students making it habitable, the cast iron bath with eagle’s feet and steps to climb into it, playing with fox cubs on a moonlit lawn. Perhaps some memories subsist from infant times, embroidered by repetition of stories told. But how could you possibly remember that? In the end, does it really matter?
Yesterday was spring and tomorrow will be too blue, bird-loud and new.
I have never seen the canal in sunlight, never seen its water clear. Plane trees meet high overhead, holding up the unseen sky. Some see a green cathedral and hear angels singing. I see tree gods and hear a symphony of birdstruments, wild flutes, clarinets and oboes. There is no sun here, but an even, green light, and the water waits, still, dimpled with insects walking, and fish lips rising to kiss their feet.
The world has shrunk this damp spring to still water pooling at my feet.
Still on the horse theme, a golden shovel based on a line from one of my favourite poems, The Listeners by Walter de la Mare.
Why did they wait and never answer, and why was the night so still, his voice as pale as the coat of his horse left grazing beneath the trees? In a pool of moonlight, cool with dew, the house walls, lapped in silence, listened for voices, while night horse champed, the stillness stirred by the wings of a bird risen from the grasses.
With a cry, an owl flew from a window of the shadow house in the trees, flew into the listening forest’s dark while echoes, ferny- plumed as ghosts, sank into the grassy floor.