by Virginia Astley.
It was a place I never grew tired of
he said as slowly we walked the lane
stick tap-tapping until, pausing
he raised it and pointed to the barn
its tall doors where the wagons
would pull in, piled high with turnips
harvested before the frosts.
As we stood outside the farmhouse
its granite smudged in autumn mist
his voice was almost lost
Granny Lyne was born up there.
His grey eyes deepened and stilled –
a diminuendo between then and now.
Beyond the turfed stone hedge, lured
by red globes jewelling a half-fallen tree
his tweeded arm reached for mine
That apple tree, he’s as old as me
he said, laughter catching his throat
and that’s saying something.