THE SUN HOTEL, DEDHAM, 1954
I wake to the hysteria
of bells - medieval laughter
out of my stained glass dream.
Paddling Daddy's slippers
across bare boards (as black
and ancient as the mud
that silts up the Stour), I reach
the leaded window. Beyond,
the church squats on its bones,
brooding music. Hymns are hatched
stillborn; organ voices rage in vain,
quelled by the crowing of the bells.
The street in both directions
is innocent of cars. Phantom mist -
an atavistic veil - blurs outlines:
passers-by are cloaked and cowled,
pacing the tracks and byways
of their ancestors. My child's breath
smokes the glass. Morning thickens;
even the light seems ancient now.
Yawning, I curl back into
a tumulus of sheets. The bells cascade,
mocking the shape of my few years.
I sleep again and now, in the
mapless dark, my green heart
beats faster. Mine is the steady pulse
that animates this room; its beams
draw new sap from my source.
Plaster, lath and tiles expand; the house
tests its roots. The bells rejoice
a continuity of mornings. This,
the moment and the lost years,
are swallowed in their shining.