0118 Wyeth County
Poem By Michael Shepherd
We knew the history of the area, of course;
reckoning that with a Heritage Site
just over the hill
planning permits would be hard to get
and the rolling landscape, and our own prized view,
would stay that way.
Clearing the ditch beyond the orchard,
by the line of old trees,
I found it.
still loaded (I realised later, cleaning it up)
and a scrap of disintegrating coloured cloth
still with a button on it.
It was the button
that put paid to my former life:
as if with the harsh scrape of iron cartwheel on stony track,
the past had arrived;
stolen the present from our comfortable grasp,
with a cartload of heavy, worn,
and taken up residence in our front parlour
with its proudly sourced 'folk furniture'
that now looked like imposters in hiding.
It was when I drove into our small town next day
and the faces of the locals whom I thought I knew so well
looked at me with eyes that seemed to own
clothes heavy with history
and fierce division
that I knew that the past had claimed us
and that our lives would never quite be ours again
And that we must discover, not war but human pride
under the no longer picturesque
which we can no longer
pretend to own.