Poem of the Month

It was as if – by Frank McMahon

we fled to the forest and the hills,

dug ditches, erected palisades, set

sentries at intervals around. And waited.

Messengers came with news of deaths

and from the temple, orders,

prognostications, warnings

about infiltration. Strangers we sent away.

We waited, looking sideways at each other,

fed ourselves as best we could.

Then we saw, as if we had new sight,

that dew was making brush strokes revealing

what we had overlooked: white blossom

of hornbeam and chestnut, the sky wiped

clear of mote and cloud. The land

filled with birdsong, larks and mewing kites.

For some this world was new,

gilding their watchful stares with smiles

and startled revelation.

For us it was an older world returned,

the backdrop to our childhood’s careless

pass through. Now we walked more

slowly, attending and exploring,

the air tense with fret and wonder,

almost a time of innocence returned.