For a Young Maiden

Nothing tells you like death
of the scar in the raindrop that can turn to downpour
or of the pointed detail in a leaf
that’s early gone; the benefit of colour
not man-devised; inconsequential movements
made in a tree by a wind not known till then

nothing tells you like death
of family flower: the narrow treasure of eye,
the straight agility from knee to ankle,
the spate of strength – plants battling in the air

the flood of words that fetched its strength and tumbled
through house and school and friends . . . a handful of pearls
now all she said, spilling in space unspelled


nothing tells you like death
of the skill of the sun that made a silver birch
and drew it straight with branches lightly arched
and let cling there a rhapsody of fronds
so light in the day’s last rays

then the sun gleamed terribly on a bare brick wall

and then the rain

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