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‘Summer’s going quickly now’

Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Les Combarelles

These are our thoughts, the pulse in bone, the stream in the artery.

We were young here, made our first fires, saw by tallow light each other’s skin and astonished eyes.

Hieroglyphics, words flowered, calcite crusted to first poems.

We made a doe, drinking at this natural stream.

It was not quite what we meant, but a beginning, a source.

‘Summer’s going quickly now’

We are caught in a storm, this last day at St. Amand de Coly. First rain comes fast. It is suddenly cold.

In the café opposite the church the old woman, almost blind, insists we want apricot juice after all.

If she could see the glasses I am sure she would polish them for us, proudly, with an immaculate cloth. My French scarcely adequate for the long, sweet conversation she wants of us,

I tell her about Wales, our rain, our language. Strangely she knows already.

A Welshman passed this way two days ago.

Hearing the thunder, rain at the open door, she stands to feel it, reflectively.

‘L’été va vite maintenant,’ she says, and again, no longer talking to us,

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Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

Getting up early on a Sunday morning

leaving them sleep for the sake of peace,

the lunch pungent, windows open

for a blackbird singing in Cyncoed.

Starlings glistening in the gutter come

for seed. I let the cats in from the night,

their fur already glossed and warm

with March. I bring the milk, newspaper,

settle here in the bay of the window to watch

people walking to church for Mothering Sunday.

A choirboy holds his robes over his shoulder.

The cats jump up on windowsills to wash

and tremble at the starlings. Like peaty water

sun slowly fills the long brown room.

Opening the paper I admit to this

the starved stare of a warning I can’t name.

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Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF



a fresh brew of coffee, the smell of rain, a street outside, and a city.

Sandra lives in London, so I know the last two details to be true.

I lived many years in the city. Now that I live in the country, I look over a garden and fields to distant hills and far mountains. It’s mild and there is for the first time a primrose light in the air. The snowdrops are out. Daffodil spears are coming up, yet the trees are still bare and the view is clear for miles. It is the sort of day when the single Welsh word glas, which means both blue and green, is just right, apt for the gradations of colour in hill country. The many tones of green of the close fields shift through blues and violets as the land rolls into the distance. Glas. That’s it exactly.

I consider the significance of Sandra’s and my framed views of outside worlds glimpsed from an interior or enclosure, from the stillness of a room, a garden. What’s out there gives meaning to the safe place set and settled in its geography, its place on the planet.

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White Roses

Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847778512


Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

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