With Anna, Zappeion, Athens

A blackbird sings
and I am somewhere else,
some other time,
some other, better, place

where yellow gorse
and brambles grow and there’s
a buzzing cloud of bees, and butterflies,
rabbit tracks and ditches

and a pond and newts and sticklebacks
and nests – neat nests
with five or six small warm blue
or pale green

or speckled eggs – and other
raggety heaps of nest,
the homes of clumsy magpies,
jackdaws, rooks – I’d love

to take you, show you,
sit with you out on the overhanging bough
above the pond …
but it would break,

and anyway
they are not there, not now,
not even there,
the ponds, the frogspawn,

Easter catkins, summer evenings, love
in the long grass,
though in Wash Lane
the churchyard trees still stand

(bereft of rooks,
bereft of worshippers)
and though you see, still,
the odd elegant magpie,

little show-off
strutting on tiny flower-bordered lawns,
a bat at dusk among the trees,
a thrush on the grass verge at dawn,

you do not see her;
you do not see me.
Hold my hand. One day,
I may hear a blackbird sing

and know that we
no longer stroll together in this park,
sit on this bench, touch this tree.

© James Munro

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