The dirty stub of a wax candle

burns. It is dim

simply a spark

that shall gutter.

But it will fizz

and splutter

before finally extinguishing,

and going blind.


These Hills

verdant and lumpy

shot with gold

are particularly lovely

in autumn.

Geese, bent on migration,

skim the slopes.

It is seasonably crisp.

There is clarity.

But evening mist

shall grow from the ground

and cocoon these hills,

which are really the heirlooms

of time.


In my greatcoat pocket

I have a swathe of letters

you wrote,

in your flowery script.

You were always lavish

when you described the climate

but said little about yourself

or what haunted you.

But I knew your sadness

was epic,

and I could read the murk

in your heart.


I was disturbed

by your thinning hair

and the chiselled lines

like trenches

that appeared

under your eyes.

No creams could disguise

your lacklustre complexion

or heal your cracked lips.

It was the malaise of age

like a sickly beast

in your make-up mirror.


We scrambled over the stiles

and took to the bridleways.

Crows roosted in the barren trees

the clay clumped thickly to our boots.

We held hands, we wore duffle coats,

we said we’d be together forever.

But you died, and I don’t tramp

the path we took, because

you’ll be there, scarfed against the cold,

dying all over again.


She waited for the water

to rill down her back,

then she was alive.

It stirred something


maybe the memory of rain,

perhaps the primal tide

of amniotic fluid

from which she was borne,

that can never be remembered.


When Mum complained

of a dull ache

in her head

we thought

she was hung over.

But when she blacked out

and lost her vision

I knew it was the end

we’d be laying flowers

in the fall

scattering her ashes

like she was precious

autumn snow.