A Quecha Prayer

Almighty God Condor,
Lord of Air and Sky,
On the flight feathers
Of your out-spread wings,
Lift my fragile spirit
From the Hidden Valley
To the snowy heights.

Peru, April 1998


Sharp at five
A cock crew.
The call came from
A great distance,
From the west so it seemed,
From the ocean
And the drowned farms.
It hung in the still air
And faded and was gone.

I thought of Peter
In his sleepless night
Seated by the courtyard fire,
Wishing it would consume him,
Wishing he could undo the night.
Alas, there was no going back,
No possible retrieval,
Day was breaking,
And was already moving
To its terrible conclusion.


So old and winter-worn
The apple trees of Girton,
Each ivied trunk inhabited
By female spirits, resting
After battles but not sleeping.
Soft dews of summer days,
Anoint their tired limbs,
Refresh and re-invest
Heroic minds.
The struggle is not won
And from the aged wood
New flowers must spring.

28 July 1989