Outsider

Liz McPherson

After Adam Zagajewski

Between meetings, spreadsheet and phonecalls,
her day passes. And half a life spent in the same village.
Soon it will be more than half. She walks in woodland
where peace breathes through shafts of sunshine.
Sometimes the dog brings squirrels as a blessing
or an apology – once it was a faun he laid at her feet.

As she walks, scraps of the past catch at her sleeve,
fragments of time slowly rubbed away till it loses its shape,
folds into itself. But sometimes it speaks in the
chink of chisel on rock, the drill of the woodpecker,
the beat of horses’ hooves on the track, the jingle
of a harness, stone-laughter in the stream after a storm.

Ravens fluster on pylons, caught like rags till the wind
lifts them over the drystone wall into another field.
In the valley the old roads tangle with new
and not all those ways belong to her. She is a child
of words, ideas and dreams but still she hears
the city’s dull drone over the tops of the trees.