So fade the lilies, their miracle complete,
And all their baroque fantasies of form and scent
No ghosts upon the ripened summer air.
We lived their moment and that time was sweet.

Tired railway sleepers

I have a homing instinct for the stars

Tired railway sleepers
From long disappeared lines,
Shoring up the earth in
My vertical garden.
In the frozen small hours,
Do your fibres vibrate
In time to the rhythm
Of the five o’clock train
Heading South to Nivelles
Or distant Charleroi?
Tired railway sleepers
From up lines and down lines,
From shunting yards and sheds
In the back of beyond,
From bridges and cuttings,
Tunnels and viaducts,
Do you still groan under
The weight of ghost wagons
with frail human cargoes,
Transported to God knows
What final solution?

February 1995

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Star Traveller


I have a homing instinct for the stars,

The Pleiades are calling me to come,

Beyond the Plough, the fields of cosmic corn 

Lie shining in the glory of their sun.

Deep in the clearings of ancestral space,

A thousand distant points of reference shine; 

High, high above me in the frozen night, 

Some minute star is burning, which is mine.

Away! The night is drawing to a close! 

The locks of Venus on the ocean lie;

Already in the East beyond the hills, 

Apollo’s golden horses paw the sky.