Summer Evening

Summer Evening

A spear of zinc light wounds stone and water,
stripping the scarlet fuchsia bells and yellow buttercups

of any discretion, so they confess their end in this
luminous declaration that they are no more than

shortlived absolutes in living colour, bright eyes
open against the dark. A light in which everything

is exact-edged, flat, no bulk or heft to it, yet
decisively itself in outline: islands, the matte grey sea,

and miles away the fine glowing line of the horizon
that like desire will be the last to go. The mountain’s

immense green and brown triangle reflects on itself
in lakewater, doubling its shape and colour there,

its stillness something drastic, an aspect of dread—as if
a lover tried to remember that loved other body

by looking in the mirror. Almost at random, shadows
fall across the small roads—which can never follow

their own bent, but always take the grain of the hill,
turning to its every tilt and inclination—and evening

starts to seep into hedges and hung washing: it is
the brown colour of a bat’s wing, and silent

as a bat is. Even your own family now would have to
be streaked with it, their faces by degrees bleeding away

in the gather-dark, whole patches of them blackening
like zones of a map thrown on smouldering embers.

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