13 October 2013

The time a bedtime story takes

Two by Glyn Maxwell


Together they took the least space they could.
Entered each other deeply, to be less,
to throw one shadow only, to be still
for all the world while moving for each other.

So space, so barely dented, might not bruise
and cry, and time come running. This was why
their breaths were held inside till the only end
of that -- this side of nothing -- the great sigh
that gives the place away . . .
                               And out they come,
exiting one another with the kiss
to heal the bruise and be the bruise and there
they sit. The only angel in this case
came only there to point them, in their first
amazing silence, to two peaceful desks.

Hard to remember, now there is nothing here,
that there was once nothing here. Hard to remember
they paused in a field with a plot for a field and a feel
of a place in mind and a little know of horses
     faraway in a corner stood there

pretty much where that kittle knot of horses
stands. The railway ran through the white template,
the life and death of it, made east and west
of nowhere. North and south it left itself
     whichever way one looked.

Hard to remember now that it's all begun
that it all began and, now that it's all over,
hard to recall it's gone. Those who are gone
arrive in a crest of steam and the late-lamented
     help them with their boxes.

Those to the east have a shed and those to the west
a greenhouse, it was a field and not a field
hereafter, it was a path through new houses
and a sweetship. There was a lane and another lane
     which, crossing it, was obliged

to name what it was named and the five things
needed they built buildings for. A meadow
reared its set of gardens like farm-children
edging behind houses to belong there,
     to cluster and imagine

a gate that is always shut will be always open.
But for now the horizon was sky and a blackberry hedge
and the north was the nettle-bed, and the south the roses
and the east and archway to those sad allotments,
     and the west a banded twilight

as out they build, in the time a bedtime story
takes to ferry me shipshape to tomorrow;
out they build till I wake and the horizon's
gone. It won't be found until it's wept to
     on a holiday. The town

is mine, this side of town is mine, the homes
go strolling by, then, bowing out of sight
they scurry round the world to be back in time
for when I pass, as if they never budged,

     and a chuckle of wood-chimes

From Glyn Maxwell, Pluto, 2013.

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