Branches of long-suffering oak
spiral down, nudging
damp winter earth
like streamers frozen in the twilight
of some forgotten party,
and the year edges
towards its end
shedding a few last-minute misty tears, not noticing
that no-one is interested.
Even you, who return as always –
cries of distress at this repeated change in your routine –
accusations into the empty air
of this familiar place where
half a century ago
my first car stuck in the mud, wheels spinning,
and I wondered how I would get my girlfriend home
clean, without embarrassment.
Now I watch my brother stand,
brain in another time
homing like a bird to this private spot.
By the old church
a thin, sharp shoot of holly
is growing from a sterile stump.
written almost exactly ten years ago