At long last the snow comes

At long last the snow comes,
Hesitantly at first,
Unsure of its welcome
In this precocious spring,
Then thicker and wilder,
Bestowing wet kisses
All over, head to toe,
Ardent, anxious to please.
I abandon myself
To its cold embraces,
Throwing open my arms
And lifting up my face.
Everything else cedes too
And settles down quickly
Under the thick blanket.

2 March 1990

Rome Revisited

I travelled light this time
And came to Rome without
Religious certainty
To pin my conscience down,
Free now to excavate,
From strata of belief
And primitive taboos,
Some vestiges of truth.
Now, gods and ages merge.
Inscriptions, sculpted all
By one perennial hand,
In unison proclaim
The noble promises
And hollow alibis
Of each successive age.
St. Peter’s colonnades
And fallen architraves
Of Augustan temples
Possess this in common:
All are, terminally,
Fatalistically,
In varying stages
Of decomposition.
No crying of the geese,
High on the Capitol,
Can protect the City
Against time and reason.

13th November 1990

In Dedham Vale

Dedham Vale - ArtworkBy Stour’s waters, on a day
Of summer mists and sunlight pale,
I saw the tower of Dedham Church
And heard its bell across the Vale.

Yet time stood still for angels passed
In golden cohorts overhead,
And, like the play of light on hills,
The glory of their presence spread.

My blest companions drank with me
The silence of that mystic hour,
And, by their passing, stirred for me
The healing waters of the Stour.

April 1990

Dedham Vale - Calligraphy