Thought-up in London, written in Lancashire.
The shhh, shhh, shhh of moorland grass
I followed better than any voice
Those boots and mac, patch-work, second-hand
Bound into making ‘not even the smallest noise’
You said, your eyes embracing sky
And giving me, still encased, the map
With the pattern of contours beaming there
Wind-bitten fingers feeling the fabric strap.
I tested the breeze as you looked up
Assuming my future through the face
As the familiar smell of wet wool seeped through
The coffee granules dredged beneath the nails.
Permitted to declare ‘the spot’, we rested
Unmarked by route but allowed by sense
I was a child and this was not ‘authority’
But something better, something else.
The tinfoil cracked open for sandwiches, fruit
Looked somehow dull against the stone
Where we ate, cheese, the smack of salad cream
Ground into bread, like slate takes chalk.
It was that familiar combination of the press
Of home, hours spent on places, not the path
Which spoke through the warmth of your shaken head
As I asked if you could fasten the laces, dad.
Rain had faced us with its own animal
Had pushed our cheeks and steamed your glasses
When suddenly, your hand outreached
As if preparing the grasp of something magic.
‘Look!’ You beamed ‘Up there, a buzzard!’
A flickering comma on the sentence of the sky
And there the narrative, the hover, hover
The sensation you had shared too, in time.
Now the sky I see has been named ‘London’
200 miles away a woman, walking for cover
The stone is facing down - in the sound of the station
Though I hear your voice still, and wait for the hover.