Sport 28: Autumn 2002
A plaque screwed to the back informs us
that this bench IN MEMORY OF MRS B …
(the rest's scratched out) was placed
by neighbours at her favourite spot
where, over a lifetime, she enjoyed this scene.
Mrs B chose well, A glance downstream
widens—tidal—towards some huge beyond
while, inland, misty intimate waters
‘quietly hoard the sun's last gleam’.
Mrs B has grown into the landscape,
The elements are made personal here.
There's a pier (closed in winter), a tree-
lined towpath, boats
abandoned in mid-stream. (Up close
a cormorant gulps down eels.) Mrs B
is everywhere … the surrounding scene
as much her memorial as this weathered seat
where BOB FUKS MARLENE in penknife prose
and where other travellers, earthed in passing,
fleetingly share her point of view.
but I know the seasons
come into it, and wars,
and the shape of a particular landscape
we try to call our own, and the sea
with all that space and distance,
and fellow travellers we meet on the road,
and the dead of course who were here before us
and the millions more who have yet to arrive.
All night I dreamt the house was melting,
sweating moonlight, dripping tin;
that you were naked, panting, but slipping
out of reach
that sliding back to something prior …
eels filled the waterbed; antiques oozed sap.
With what relief, when darkness ended,
I heard the shower beam you back to life.