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Green November: Missiano 2001
Last time I walked this bit of road
like this
was Easter five years back
and the Grannies were out
let out after winter
and then
Up the hill with them
shawls flying in the wind
rocketing on sticks
pointing out who lived where
and when – locating all
the marks upon the landscape
yet again:
This little stretch
between the graveyards
the Via Gramsci
taking over
from the Via Sant’ Urbano:
Today like then
is beautiful and clean
so focussed clear the air
is like a lens imprinting me
among the hills
and hidden things
As when I leave this road
to come down into Africa
across the fields
that patch I know
of cracked bare winter earth
scratched with the tracks of beasts
recorded time
in muddy prints
Or the man below
who stops hand up
blue coat flapping in the wind
to look at me
shading his eyes from the sun
Or the tall thin shepherd yesterday
beside my house
black beard and crook
who grazed his sheep
just passing by – so quick
no more than half an hour
in the small green fields
on each side of the road
But while it happened
all this little piece
of countryside was full
was loud with bells
the clatter and clang of sheep
and then filled up with absence after
music ended
they were gone
And like this last white rose so white
above my yard
high up beside the gable-light