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Poem of the Day

Scattering the Ashes

Grevel Lindop

    At last the rain cleared and we found a barley-field
    where the crop was knee-high, and in our town shoes
    paced the lumpy furrows along the edge
    until our trousers were soaked. My brother held it out,
    open, and I pushed my hand in. It was like
    dark corn, or oatmeal, or both, the fine dust
    surprisingly heavy as it sighed through the green
    blades and hit the earth. And like the sower
    in that nursery picture ('To bed with the lamb,
    and up with the laverock') we strode on, flinging it
    broadcast, left and right, out over the field.
    And there was no doubt that things were all in their places,
    the tumbled clouds moving back, light in the wheel-ruts
    and puddles of the lane as we walked to the car;
    and yes, there were larks scribbling their songs on the sky
    as the air warmed up. We noticed small steps
    by a pool in the stream where a boy might have played
    and people fetched water once, and wild watercress
    that streamed like green hair inside the ribbed gloss of the current.
    And then I was swinging the wheel as we found our way
    round the lane corners in a maze of tall hedges
    patched with wild roses, under steep slopes of larch
    and sycamore, glimpsing the red sandstone of castles
    hidden high in the woods. And the grit under our nails
    was the midpoint of a spectrum that ran from the pattern in our cells
    to the memories of two children, and it was all right.
Taken from 'Playing with Fire'...
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