Poem of the Month: December 2007


Branch-lines cover
Waking slowly, I look
through the window
at the silver sky and fields of frost,
reflections of each other,
where nothing moves
where lines of wall and hedge converge,
and at their corners
large trees see out the final,
chilly disciplines of their watch.
I carefully clasp my mug of tea
as if it holds your heartbeat
your dreaming breath.
A dog barks on a nearby farm,
the sky becomes the faintest blue,
and cattle move stiffly
out of a frozen enchantment.
The machinery of morning is starting up,
and I stand there, considering,
to trace
your sleeping outline in the hills.



  It is night, the world is still,
only the wind-chime in the crab-apple tree,
carried on the same warm cheek of air
as mock orange scent, stirs.
And I take time out of time,
a shadow in the doorway,
feeling I see it all, though probably too close
to see the whole, which may be chaos.
The stars, tangled like a kite string of brilliants
are fixed amongst the leaves, yet steer a lurching journey
through cold canyons of space and time,
on invisible tracks, alone.
Are they touched by the love that I am somehow filled with?
For it may be the memory of not having love
which catches in the branches of the crab-apple tree,
like the distant stars are caught, and chimes.

by James Nash from Branch-lines:  Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry (Enitharmon Press 2007)