We are the lucky ones. And from fifty they start,

the body’s whispered messages of death.

Heroic public attitudes fade and reform

as finite flowers with coloured peaks.


And just in case the message doesn’t get through

there are near-death experiences on aeroplanes

when unwise sleeps show what happens

when the bottom falls out.


God is both inside and outside the cultural bubble

but we are centred where we are

and the abandonment, as on the Cross,

is final. Just as well to know this.


So now, on a terrace in Escamps,

the quiet valley offers a light show

and one peuplier pulses

with a revelation of eternal destiny.


But when the depths have returned to the depths

and the vacancies stretch between thoughts,

a strange acoustic surface lingers,

something like the scraping of a hoe.