I left the car,
And camera in hand I walked back along the quiet country road,
The road which ran like a hard faced twin,
Alongside the waters of the beautiful river,
Mimicking her movements, following her curves.
River to my left and to my right eroded rock;
Great grey back,
Ancient beast, turned away and sleeping through the dappled afternoon.
And up against the creature's bulk, standing silent and solemn by the roadside,
The brown door with peeling paint opened and from the carapace of the house an old woman emerged,
Looking neither this way nor that,
Seeing only the small dark shape in the middle of a road.
A dead bird, a sparrow maybe?
She made her slow way towards it.
And bending stiffly
She rescued the little body from the ignominy of grime and dust,
Lifted it up with infinite care
Frail cupped hands in lieu of air.
In place of heavens element
The human touch and sad lament.
Symbol of all bright things shattered.
All time lost, all fragile joys brought down to this?
Such a small creature to bear this burden of mysterious grief.
And the old woman now wailing and keening, bearing the broken bird away,
Back into the cool darkness, back into the cool silent darkness of the house.
Under the inscrutable shadow of the grey rock face.
And over this ending I scatter a handful of words.
I walked on a little way and took some photographs.
A dilapidated millwheel, taking its time to fall apart,
Holding court picturesque.
King of the miscellaneous,
Mishmash tangle offered up by the current,
Fallen branches, old tyres and such.
All transfigured, made remarkable and alluring,
By dazzle of water, by glamour and glint,
By alchemy of sunlight.