On Leaving Keswick

In the quiet season I came here alone.
A job, dull workman’s digs, set talk, all these
mattered far less than the black empty trees.
Birds flew by straight on a curve – and the lake shone.

But the old trouble with people came like a fever.
I was polite in cafés, the wind was gentle;
then it snarled and bit from Cockermouth to Kendal.
I’ve fled it, fought it. When will it blow over?

I swung upon the needle of my mind,
asking for help: but it was coated with grime.
The wind took over in a mad lonely time.
I went half-blind.

The gale has banged me, the odd ice flung me down.
I have tried too hard to write, Six weeks of silence –
ridiculous! – make plain a slight imbalance.
I shall love this town.

A few years later I revisited this time in a poem (Time-Server in Eagle) and was able to show a little more of the intensity of what was, nevertheless, a healing time.

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