Week 80: Rain – Birdoswald, by Frances Horovitz

Frances Horovitz died young, and left us poems crafted with a painterly precision and full of a bittersweet ache of mortality. This is one of my favourites. Birdoswald is a fort on Hadrian’s Wall.

Rain – Birdoswald

I stand under a leafless tree
more still, in this mouse-pattering
thrum of rain,
than cattle shifting in the field.
It is more dark than light.
A Chinese painter’s brush of deepening grey
moves in a subtle tide.

The beasts are darker islands now.
Wet-stained and silvered by the rain
they suffer night,
marooned as still as stone or tree.
We sense each other’s quiet.

Almost, death could come
inevitable, unstrange
as is this dusk and rain,
and I should be no more
myself, than raindrops
glimmering in last light
on black ash buds

or night beasts in a winter field.

Frances Horovitz