Upping Sticks

for F.

I’ll be away soon from my old knockabout palace,
and a rich forest of leaves in the garden beyond.
The rusty old key I shall turn, and lower the portcullis,
and off to fresh pastures . . . and a new deepening bond
with the roof of day and night in a groundwork of colours.
But I shall miss, sometimes, a spot of which I was fond.

At an old ironwork table with a leaf-motif,
I’d abandon my crossword for a master-clue,
a gleam in the eye of the sun. An inventive
twist to the hard fact of Earth . . . till it grew
a simple beauty no more than intuitive.
A clue that’s not to sit still and construe.

From the old table I’d go up to the berberis,
to a copper-wit welcome . . . so to do the rounds
of a talkative village. A moment with the blackberries
hanging out over a fence. Within these bounds
to savour the words of the free and the sweetly barbarous
has been a delight. Tomorrow to new grounds.

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