There was nothing to be seen
Across the drenched grassy meadows,
Only a small circle of light
Shining through the heavy darkness.
The world was deserted and I on my own.
The wind was bitter, blowing
The outside lamp on the house
One way and another.
I could hear my footsteps
Splashing in the puddled water.
To my left, Hannibal’s elephants
Tramping over the Alps.
But it was probably the cows
Jostling each other in the barn
Or the sheep complaining.
To my right, the sudden beating of sails,
Almost certainly Captain Kidd,
Pirate extraordinary, shouting ‘Ahoy there!’
And ‘Avast thou scurvy knave!’
Or maybe it was just Joe,
Setting sail on his skinny canoe
Down the skinny river.
Nothing matters to him,
Only the water.
In front of me, a most beautiful pyramid
Sparkling in the close light
From the kitchen windows,
Flooding the tall chimney side of the house.
I reached the door of the Pharoah’s tomb
Then the shadow of the Rowan tree,
The tree that defeated witches
Fell over me.
And I gave it all up.
Elephants, Alps, Pirate ships, Captain Kidd.
Overjoyed that what lay behind me,
Part of my cherished world,
Was a cold wet meadow of mud,
Restless cattle grumbling and sheep muttering.
A small lazy river with an old canoe
Banging and clattering.
Glad they were there.
Glad the tree that kept away witches and their spells
Was growing by the door,
Casting beautiful shadows.
© 2021 Gwen Grant