Looking back I see spoilt orchards
and cattle in the lean fields,
blood on the anvil and wax upon wax
on the hearth. My grandparents
are worn to ghosts; uncle
sits by the fire hoarding
his brokenness, spitting out mercies,
the harvest of prayer.
Me I see a bare tree,
a river and its tributaries,
a map of the trade routes,
neural paths rising out
of the spine, the spread
of a disease, a fashion, a need.
I see a leaf dying but carried by air:
a thought on its raft ready for speaking.
Mathew Lyons is a writer and historian. His books include Impossible Journeys, a collection of travellers tales about journeys to places that did not exist, and There and Back Again, about JRR Tolkien and English landscape and mythology. He has contributed poems to Visual Verse and Dawn Treader.