above the deep-cut Devon lanes.
A tractor, fat tyres higher than a man
pulls silage uphill between steep hedges.
From the churchyard the sea glints pewter
in the cleft of the valley, the soft air full
of sweet mown grass; a faint taste of salt.
guard headstones with epitaphs in curlicue script,
mourn dead babies and wives gone too soon.
“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.”
wrapping the ships out of Plymouth, sinuous
between the laurel’s salt-scoured leaves;
summer seems past yet this is only June.
the air so still for once, the birds silent.The earth moves through us; we turn our backs
for the last time, fearful that it might stop.
© Sue Burley