Sunday, 18 August 2013

 Above Ringmore

At Ringmore, All Hallows stands proud
above the deep-cut Devon lanes.
A tractor, fat tyres higher than a man
pulls silage uphill between steep hedges.

Sheep drift clouding the falling fields.
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.

Above Ringmore, cornflowers bunch in jars,
guard headstones with epitaphs in curlicue script,
mourn dead babies and wives gone too soon.
“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.”

At noon sea mist curls in drenching our faces                   
wrapping the ships out of Plymouth, sinuous
between the laurel’s salt-scoured leaves;
summer seems past yet this is only June.

Bells ring from a distant tower, 
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