Plainsong

Stop. Along this path, in phrases of light,
trees sing their leaves. No Midas touch
has turned the wood to gold, late in the year
when you pass by, suddenly sad, straining
to remember something you’re sure you knew.

Listening. The words you have for things die
in your heart, but grasses are plainsong
patiently chanting in circles you cannot repeat
or understand. This is your homeland
lost one, Stranger who speaks with tears.

It is almost impossible to be here and yet
you kneel, no one’s child, absolved by the late sun
through the branches of a wood, distantly
the evening bell reminding you Home, Home
Home and the stone in your palm telling the time.

Carol Anne Duffy

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