We have been lifetimes constructing, not ourselves,
but the make-up of the place we thought we ought to be.
Offered magic to wells,
influence to the painful line of drumlins
defeating sky’s explicit edge; to the scour of trees
the hint of a soul, as if we understood the greying land.
Now google yourself, yourself and carnality, you and red,
and land. Evoke ancestors who preyed on the sun over scurfy maps,
calling God and bargaining. Wishing they’d been overheard
by somebody who could say no no no don’t go that way,
leave the tautology of wells, water, mud; abandon the truth
you think is in the way rain falls, or doesn’t. Give up
ideas of Gods, the prayer that you are not alone.
And where will you go now that you suspect the Virgin
has revealed herself as human?
Maybe re-trawl the continent of internet look-
ing for the place to be – beneath a frayed fog
on marshy ground miles from here, land scarred
by faith’s disappearance.
Ok, then you are ready to take a walk
onto the roof, the tower, steeple; see the ruined
cottage, school. Watch how land lies and,
suddenly it is Autumn. The fragile
pumpkins wait in a ceramic bowl
full of the way they used our meagre sun, salty air.
The end of summer ladybird is tired. But red. God’s
little cow. She hurts. And from the spiked fern
a skylark rises. Old headlines
keep coming back, numbers of dead, miracles.
And we have this: the careless garden,
weeds between rows of beets, carrots on their wilt.
Why is the virgin wearing a red cloak when all we saw was blue.
Why did we do this? Why did we dream it could be different?