by Peter Riley
The little valley in the foothills
tall birches and twisting stream
snowy crests beyond in sunlight
a marten runs across the road
first thin cherry blossom in the fields
a bell-tower at the crest of each village.
Later sitting on the station platform very cold
suffering pain from an oesophagal hernia
surveying the council houses beyond the track
so like home.
Cathar country, how people survive
or don't and leave a trace in the mind
that survives through centuries, a trace
of defiance, that the world is open, a blue book
wrapped in wool, clutched to the chest
over high and snowy passes.
Last updated July 20, 2021