The mist sucks in our car to a world
That’s pure except for the leaves that drop
Like bits of flame or scraps of gold.
We arrive just as the drizzle stops;
The lake deepens the unpeeling hills.
The pilgrim hostel has no guests.
The chapel’s closed; and at the well
We marvel at a sign’s request
To refrain from throwing in our pence –
As if officials could outlaw
Whistling or smiling, song or dance.
We walk beside the lake, and sure
Enough the shallows buff a mine
Of coins, like amber eyes of fish,
That keep lit, and hard, the faith behind
The spinning moment of each wish.
Reflections on a Baby Crow In the Light of the Venerable Bede’s Sparrow
I open up the stove to clear the grate
And flash! as if a coal has come to life
A crow flies out – I spring back with a shout
And watch it head towards the window glass,
Peck at the light in panic, try to leave
The wintry room. It flops beside a vase.
I scurry, open wide another window
Then run outside in time to witness
The nestling shoot out like a ragged arrow.
Later, I think of Bede’s implicit prayer:
“We fall from glory to this life of darkness,
Blunder around mistaking glass for air;
Lord, help us find the straining hole of light
And leave for dead our temporary night.”