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(Over Sussex)

Two thousand years of careful

tended fields roll back below:

green rectangles, rimmed

tilled horizon, flat as the

surface of a silver serving

tray. Stone spires flit by,

threaded by slow blue streams.

I sense what it means, becoming

civil: to soar and then decline, each

with its price. The old betrayals

and defeats rise up – grey

Tintagel and Guinevere,

blond Harald’s loss, grim foreign

forces come ashore. Remains

of empire swept behind a

crumbled island wall. They’re crops

now, quilted and coolly outlined by

a sinking teatime sun.

As stars revolve each fractured soul

(they say) reclaims its place.

In that ripe time may we be

young again and stride hedged walks

along the tapestry beneath,

resume our early married games

reciting nonsense rhymes

in pillowed ease.

Our plane beeps twice, descends.

The seat backs straighten.

We prepare to land.

Version first published in The Federal Poet, Vol.LXXVI, No. 1 (Spring 2020)

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