I was walking yesterday, up along an old path called Into The Light, along the road a little way then north towards the railway, along an old drove road, towards the house of someone I used to know.
A man was burning a tree fallen in the storms and the pheasants shot into the air as I walked along a cart track underneath where they’d roosted. I went and talked to someone else who knew the same person and we didn’t mention her at all. I got back in the last of the light, out of the light and said hello to someone I didn’t know to stop an old man cycling into me in the dark.
I thought about a poem I started years ago. I’ve never been able to finish it. I thought about a girl I used to know in Cornwall and I thought about the Spring coming and the old wartime things you sometimes discover walking here, still littering the fields and hedges after what, 70 years or something. Time moves at different speeds in some places, sometimes.
I don’t know whether to call this Walking With Blue or Last Defences. Let’s stick with the second one for now.
March and the raw wind cradles the rooks calling.
March and the wet wind licks my face
Waiting for the Spring to start
So we can go for a walk together again.
Secret clumps of snowdrops,
Uncleared pillboxes among the hedgerows,
Winter’s last defences mowing down the unwary
As they walk along the oddly empty lane
Shattering the grey, reminding you
It really will be Summer again one day.
Cock pheasants clattering,
Calling safe from the guns
Until October now.
Woodsmoke from a bonfire
Clinging to my scarf,
Walking with blue even indoors.
I remember these last days of February too.
Spring term. Mock exams.
Back when everything was new.
And walking with blue
Jeans and dove grey sweater.
It was a poem I’d started then.
I can hear me now, still walking towards me
From the other end of my life
As I walk these different fields,
Too far from home, still walking with blue.
Hello stranger. I knew it was you.
Where’ve you been all this time?
Why didn’t you write and tell me
If you were alright?
If you couldn’t say at least
Why didn’t you write to me?
Why didn’t you write?
© Carl Bennett 2104