Devon. Arch. View.

Devon. Arch. View. pic

lichen on old stone

it’s yellows and greens

in a texture of remembrance

add casual beauty to the aperture

of an arched window through which

one solitary sheep moves by inches

like a maggot across the sward

behind, though filling all the space

a clock ticks encircling me in the view

Bound by knowledge I struggle with

and anchored by all sorts of gravities

I accept an affinity

with that accumulating texture on the wall

and look up to see four more sheep

Where I sit, this place that faces

an old stone wall, ragged and thick

which was the slaughter-house of New Barn Farm

Outside, rough flagstones were the perimeter

of a killing zone. A way out of life

But now, swaying between the tick and tock

I count sheep. Innocent in the view

patient

Patient

like an atom adrift

in this vast body of parts

failing somehow

and all gathered because

one clock was an hour behind

another advanced by the same amount

‘nil by mouth’

time becomes obstinate

a mocking chant

not that of monks

no abeyance to humility

because the institution grinds away

at those within

with a remorseless appetite

habitually uncouth

and promising, always promising

an outcome. A deliverance.