© Gerry Cambridge
(for Chris Powici, & i.m. Helen Lamb)
The time I visited him before this he still had a partner and I had leave to be with mine. He takes me on endless walks in the hills and glens, like a dog being exhausted so it sleeps, not pines. We talk about our lives, pause to drink in the scene, and find an old sheep fank, its walls grog-blossomed with lichens. We are shepherds with no flock, herding only our errant thoughts. A few times he says it will clear and level out – my heart lifts a little again and again, even if he’s only talking about the terrain.
Elegy for a farmer
The local farmer died just the other day – pneumonia – and the day before that he delivered wood pallets to us for my sister’s wedding – they’re still there where he left them, propped up against the garage, all splintery, looking like some rube’s bier now. He was doing heavy lifting right up to the day his heart was drowned out. He was a good, quiet man, but it’s hard not to see the pallets and think we’re just an Aeolian process, like the wind, moving things back and forth until we are put somewhere so safe we’re forgotten.
Stef and I got to the top of Dumyat today after years away. The peak is now a memorial garden, the stones made out of harder rock than any house. They’ve paved the path uphill too, you could get up there in a wheelchair. The sun is still itself, old democrat giving warmth and cancer equally. But the world I knew is so altered, everything has changed apart from the things that really need to change, like my outlook. Dumyat flaunts its peak all the way until you’ve nearly reached it, then it becomes shy and hides. You lose sight, but need to remember you’re still on track.
The first hare
Alnmouth to London on the train passes in a verdant blur. Not long until I’m off again - just can’t seem to get away from always having to get away. The Duke’s selling off his farmland to the developers, so many houses are cropping up and still there’s nowhere we seem to be able to live. We move so much I sometimes think we’re stolen goods, lives not due to us we took nonetheless. If we run out of space we’ll colonise the space in all the empty promises. I helped you spot your first hare – the fact seems important somehow now I see nothing that moves me other than motion, under this early morning sun, without you.