Rodez

Northward I came, and knocked in the coated wall
At the door of a low inn scaled like a urinal

With greenish tiles. The door gave, and I came



Home to the stone north, every wynd and snicket

Known to me wherever the flattened cat

Squirmed home to a hole between housewall and paving.



Known! And in the turns of it, no welcome,

No flattery of the beckoned lighted eye

From a Rose of the rose-brick alleys of Toulouse.



Those more than tinsel garlands, more than masks,

Unfading wreaths of ancient summers, I

Sternly cast off. A stern eye is the graceless



Bulk and bruise that at the steep uphill

Confronts me with its drained-of-colour sandstone

Implacably. The Church. It is Good Friday.



Goodbye to the Middle Ages! Although some

Think that I enter them, those centuries

Of monkish superstition, here I leave them



With their true garlands, and their honest masks,

Every fresh flower cast on the porch and trodden,

Raked by the wind at the Church door on this Friday.



Goodbye to all the centuries. There is

No home in them, much as the dip and turn

Of an honest alley charmingly deceive us.



And not yet quite goodbye. Instead almost

Welcome, I said. Bleak equal centuries

Crowded the porch to be deflowered, crowned.

by Donald Alfred Davie

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