Meditation on a Yorkshire Town

I looked down on the curve of the earth, like an eagle,

And all I saw bowed and flexed under the weight of my gaze.

It was my enquiring eye that pried open the door of those houses that

Murmured and swelled with their restless inhabitants.

Twinkling phosphorous encrusted every street and close –

Was it my imagination or did pinpoints glow brighter when the wind

Gusted as if someone was blowing on the smouldering rooftops,

Urging life back to the slumbering sprawl?

The streaming bunting of urban flow, orange against tarmacadam black,

The movement of life itself,

By day a torrent of wheels rolling heavily,

At night a trickle at the mouth of the slumbering earth.

Is passage for those night creatures who keep their company in the small hours,

Keep their company in the early day when sensible folk turn in their beds, seeming to

Ride out the black waves of night in a square vessel,

Wrapped in the sails that don’t billow or strain

At the wash of morning, squinting through a pale shining

I walked by the swaying birch.

Cycled by the tall corn ears swirling in the safety of their multitude,

Watched as they rustled in time with something unseen which ran a-top the sheaves

Of gold, invisibly harvested by the farmer I didn’t know and never would,

Whose business by the halogen at night while the world slept roused

Foxes from their lair and the rabbits, half-slumbering awake from their warrens

Juddering under the weight of diesel and soil-and-sweat toil.

Lunchtime brought the crow to the sowed furrows and the dormouse,

Treacherous creeping towards the ploughman’s sandwich left carelessly;

Cheese sweating under sun and the buzzing wasp from a hundred miles of Hawthorne.

But I felt it even then, under hottest sun and the loud cries of the curlew

The creep of the dusk, the cloak ready in the wings of the fragile blue day, waiting

For the helium to burn itself out, and the dark to rise.

Those houses soon will twinkle, that are for now bright and faceless.

Then they will have eyes which look far into the night.

And a million other faces will turn to the pillow, day forgotten, the night

Embraced like an old friend that brings quiet but strange thoughts,

Seared with a day’s experience and the year’s events and a lifetime

Of endless rejoicing and sorrowing and striving.