Wind in the poplars and a broken branch, a dead arm in the bright trees. Five poplars tremble gradually to gold. The stone face of the lion darkens in a sharp shower, his dreadlocks of lobelia grown long, tangled, more brown now than blue-eyed.
My friend dead and the graveyard at Orcop – her short ride to the hawthorn hedge, lighter than hare-bones on men’s shoulders, our faces stony, rain, weeping in the air. The grave deep as a well takes the earth’s thud, the slow fall of flowers.
Over the page the pen runs faster than wind’s white steps over the grass. For a while health feels like pain. Then panic running the fields, the grass, the racing leaves ahead of light, holding that robin’s eye in the laurel, hydrangeas’ faded green. I must write like the wind, year after year passing my death-day, winning ground.
By Gillian Clarke from Selected Poems (in the New Poems section of the 1996 edition)