Last Defences

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.

An old apple tree, planted nobody knows when on a drove road most people have forgotten. I think someone long ago threw away an apple core.
Unwanted apples on a forgotten drove road. I think someone long ago threw away an apple core.

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.


Last Defences


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

Unthinking. The sudden burst of flowersIMG_1327

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





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