Humble Legacies



You rest the mug down: not a cup on a saucer,

An honest mug, remnants of tea now cold.

The kitchen window opens out before you,

An untidy garden, three deck chairs,

Recently mown. Sunlight cuts across

The sideboard, turns it golden. In

A second the idea will pass you by, you want

To snapshot the scene, but better still the

Sense behind it all: the cars heard whispering

Outside in some distant street, the long

High white trail of a long-gone aeroplane,

Your partner still reading Sense and Sensibility,

Two unknown birds in song, sometime

In April. You wish to capture it, place it

Like a lime slice on the glass lip, one elegant

Action, and act of preservation

For something older than you, something more important

Than you, something beautiful. But it passes.

A car outside: one could kill you tomorrow,

And this would be your kitchen, these would be

Your chattels, your garden furniture,

The last known address, your abiding legacy,

And the moment itself never captured. There is

Always that risk: that you must die this way.



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