Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England
the lake’s black mirror
held up to Carling Knott
and Burbank Fell . . .
look back, traveller,
you’ve been here before
For the first time in this life of small lives, I rest my elbows on this particular wooden fence and gaze out across this particular lake. The view is almost completely framed by softly stirring ash, oak and sycamore and the indistinct birdsong of the summer woods. Loweswater: ‘the leafy lake.’ Dim, distant aeons ago, it was joined to Crummock Water. Still, curiously, it flows inland towards ‘the Crooked One,’ rather than out to sea. Such is the pull of the past.
And so we pause; a shame we cannot linger. The afternoon sun polishes the silver plate and I am a lens, wide-open, making a daguerreotype that the coming hours will fix for memory to colour as it will. It is always later than we think. But at least there is now.
“That would do us!”
Your voice. Corruscating ripples. A magnesium powder flashgun.
I swing round to see you standing there, offering me a cool drink, a bite to eat. You gesture, not towards the rose-rambled cottage, but its adjacent bus stop, seemingly built of stone from the same quarry, festooned with honeysuckle, drowsy with bees. This you say most every day, of some windowless shack, or rickety hayloft. We’ve earmarked a future for ourselves: something snug (albeit spare—ramshackle, even) somewhere on a grassy knoll beneath yellowed sellotape, along the fold of a yellowed map.
within and without
the Claude glass . . .
my life before
and after you
Editor's Note: First published in Presence #51, 2014 and subsequently in Talking in Tandem by Claire & Tony Everett, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, November 2015.