There is a History in all men’s lives
and some are arrayed like goldfinches
that fly away and are not seen -- who or
what, my soldier, my friend, who says
language is either normal or poetical? what
is this I’m saying with but a feathery brightness
hoping to become a stony rightness? At night the black
water falling through the lock is heavy with stars
and I think of my distant connections, my soldiers,
as points of light in a vast dark loss. A history
that someone could use like a stone house in the
hills available to the whole family.
Fresh and gentle hilltop wind blowing damp
as I stand outside the Hare & Hounds waiting for a bus
by a stone wall. Me and the thistle and the willow-herb.
Streamlet falls into culvert. Here is where the place
shows its final meaning as an accumulated knowledge
that there will always be a freshness in whispered words
of justice and audible reassurance of human standing,
standing outside a pub, standing under moorland,
where all the answers are shared. Allow my voice
some ear, word masters, I stand nowhere counting
the generations of workers and thinkers
while the bright chariot approaches.
Night goods train fills the valley with its noise
spread out over all the houses and gone. People
check their watches: 10:50. There is a finer music
that doesn’t draw your soul into the distance but re-
affirms presence, at home, mind/heart decisions
for the home line is the world line and everyone
knowing this goes to bed after 10:50 pulling blankets
to the chin. Everyone the same as everyone else
(Lassie, lie near me) and then we are free
to speak, out and for. Canada geese and
mallards on the canal, sparrows and great tits
in the small trees, owls in the night spaces.
Copyright Peter Riley 2014
Peter Riley is the author of some 20 books and pamphlets; some recent titles are here. Most of his poetry is concerned with being at particular places on the earth. He reviews poetry regularly for The Fortnightly Review and his own website is aprileye.co.uk. His work has appeared previously in the original print issue of Molly Bloom, and in the magazine's first online incarnation: here.