Sally Evans

(1942 / London)

Barley Straw


'You bring your whole history to this moment, ' she said
I turn a corner and walk down to a pond
beside which, in heavy soil, is a very beautiful tree
an acer, a maple turning in autumn green to red
some leaves green, some red, some brindled
and I push gently past it to place in the pond
my crushed handful of barley straw
stalks gleaned in a perfection of time
on the cut meadow's rolling edge
the harvest taken, the ground still shorn
no one by with the plough to blacken
the playfields of memory
For this straw has the property
of making the water clear
so I can see through the muddled depths
the what and why of this murkiness
this dark midway, and enlightenment
becomes possible again
Tiny minnow I did not know were there
dart through the waterlily stems, which go down
so much further than we saw,
and pebbles bend under our vision
or hide behind waving, visible weed
before I turn and walk away
from the unimportant water
and walk back away refreshed up the hill
from the known beautiful tree
Yes, it is as she said

Submitted: Friday, September 09, 2011
Edited: Saturday, September 10, 2011

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