Hedges bulge around giant cypresses
where you'd have walked and seen
the sky lightening at the end of the road
and kept on, by the ancient green
vestibule doors, the untouched front
rooms and darkened hallways, to find
yourself not here anymore, not at all,
but in the rush fields of a raven’s hill.
Pigeons fly in and out of stone-sized gaps
in the broken windows of the old lady’s home
where she lived most of the time alone.
The kids shout and gather at the spot she’d look
down upon from the landing, seeing god-knows-what—
a coal man’s lorry, chimney sweep, delivery boy?—
and in the rooms stripped bare—gas mantle, iron
fireplaces, the stair-rods like twisted joints—
nothing gives her life back to this place
but the number 70, exactly as it was
when she moved in first, stripped sunblind across
the front door and the trees made it seem just right.
Photo of Gerald Dawe: credit Bobbie Hanvey, Burns Library Photographic Archives, Boston College