Ninetieth Birthday

You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
Of the grey rock. Trees are about you
At first, but yield to the green bracken,
The nightjars house: you can hear it spin
On warm evenings; it is still now
In the noonday heat, only the lesser
Voices sound, blue-fly and gnat
And the stream's whisper. As the road climbs,
You will pause for breath and the far sea's
Signal will flash, till you turn again
To the steep track, buttressed with cloud.

And there at the top that old woman,
Born almost a century back
In that stone farm, awaits your coming;
Waits for the news of the lost village
She thinks she knows, a place that exists
In her memory only.
You bring her greeting
And praise for having lasted so long
With time's knife shaving the bone.
Yet no bridge joins her own
World with yours, all you can do
Is lean kindly across the abyss
To hear words that were once wise.


Submitted by Andrew Mayers

by Ronald Stuart Thomas

Other poems of THOMAS (36)

Comments (5)

Nice work...... Thanks for sharing.....
Like a walk in the countryside, this piece moves gently toward its narrative purpose, but weaves a profoundly stirring tapestry that remains in the thoughts long after the walk is done. Beautifully executed.
Her memory. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
great skill in writing
a nice scenic poem about being old and living in the clouds.