Will you remember this - the cold
grey afternoon rapidly losing light,
a wide expanse of frozen lake, parkland
disappearing into mist and, behind us,
just visible in its hazy gothic outline,
the crenellated walls of the Abbey?
I don’t suppose you’ll remember,
but perhaps it will be with you
somewhere, a distant image of this bleak
winter landscape etched into silence,
stillness, our quiet sense of belonging,
of being part of a world in waiting.
It was all there that afternoon rapidly
becoming night, the place deserted
except for us wrapped in scarves, gloves,
wind-cheaters, absorbing gradually -
being absorbed by - the darkening scene,
with occasional cries of water-fowl bedding down.
You are standing by your push-chair, small,
watchful, self-contained. Fabling, I tell you
this place, this particular moment, has its own
special sound, a sound like no other sound,
one that belongs to us alone. And I skim
a large flat stone across the frozen lake.
We listen in wonder as it travels swiftly
to the far side, two hundred metres or more,
constant, unwavering in its trajectory,
screeching its elegant smooth friction,
head-speeding rock on ice, invisible
irresistible race towards the infinite.
Then sudden silence. You stare - my fantasy
has become real. When you whisper ‘more’,
I choose another suitable projectile, aim
and hurl it flat at the solid silver lake.
We listen intently to its skimmering flight
into the faint gleaming edge of beyond.
You want it again and again, this strange
encounter of sound and silence, of us
being part of stone-hard angled force
meeting the ice, of speed disappearing
into space, our aloneness in the frozen night,
stars showing brilliant in a black sky.
© 2007 Brian Hughes