Her shadowy cloud-cloaked figures are reaching,
clustering at the creaking bridge-end,
waiting for me, beckoning silently,
fitting their footsteps to mine.
Russet rust dots the ground like blood spots -
maroon flakes flecking the quiet earth.
The gaping church mouth
has swallowed too many blood-soaked sunsets,
girning and regurgitating the red.
The Gothic spire of the yew keeps its churchyard vigil,
overshadowing the elm's distress -
troubled trees that bleed through the sigils of her desk.
Each ancient taproot sprawls to the grinning maw
of a corpse, kissing this quiet necropolis.
It is too still, too silent,
not a breath, a whisper, or a flicker.
On a green hill faraway narcissi raise white faces;
they nod and bob above an echo chamber of old cogs,
ancient wires snaking from walls,
ivy ropes strangling worn wooden doors,
softly rotting boards, shifting floors.
Slow sun on moss-smothered walls,
turning and churning amber and gold.
Her history haunts here, hanging like a pall.
Old memories snag between slats of sunlight;
vaporous spirits stirring, rising before me
like a heat haze in the sweltering, melting air.
Cubed cottages line the lane in spun sugar pastels.
What is that sickly odour throat-choking me
in the sultry air? Is it only the saccharine stench
of the lace-capped cow parsley? Cautiously I place each foot
amongst sodden sod clods dark as blood clots
and a snare of plant roots, the throttle-web nets
of Queen Anne's lace. Wending a winding pathway
through weed-choked abandoned allotments
shimmering green as the sea; the sun funnelling
its suffocating heat to me, the sick hawthorns
sweating a feverish odour of malady.
Bean flowers peer meanly from their cages of canes -
little hostile black eyes following me.
A murder of crows converges, blackening the hot blue -
bits of scorched paper soaring near the sun's searing inferno;
squawking souls immolating, a panicked flutter of sky cries.
And at the end of it all, this sinking into sunken soil
as the cloud-cloaked shadows lengthen to swallow me whole.
*Court Green is the name of the house where poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes lived in the village of North Tawton, Devon. The 'abandoned allotments' in North Tawton were the setting for Plath's poem 'The Bee Meeting'.