forty years on

windy day on the ridge
imagining myself on Hampstead Heath
forty years ago
when friendship meant more
than the contact list I have now

winter sits thinly on the bough
some deer bolt the clearing at the sight of me
I turn for home
and a solitary tea
thankful for friends I never see

tryst

pale hart in the copse at dusk
under stars
that bristle on a chinless heaven

faith
I have none
these things are random

I turn up my collar on the night
knowing
she is already gone

twilight on Ashridge

twilight on Ashridge
and I am forgetting everything
to reflect upon
the thick mixture of mud
and deer droppings
I have just stepped in

who I was
what I’ve left undone
my way back through these woods
so rich in beech and oak
where I come to walk the dog
and have my quiet smoke

looking back
I remember feeling
much the same in youth
hemmed in by thought and mood
imprisoned and yet lost
I turn to find I am watched
thin velvety antlers
not long from the pedicle
barely discernible
amongst the twiggery
of this ancient world
that in a few short weeks
will change into something
thin and brittle as
a pensioner
with a purse full of coppers
that at last opens
then won’t close

well
we all find closure eventually
ready or not

now
one snap from me and he is off
prancing free
back to the herd
where he belongs
and where
if truth be told
I have always been at odds