Caught by the River

A Quiet Place in the Country: a poem by Daniel Bennett

23rd April 2017

No place, really. A wooded drive
past a pond filmed with algae,
the house hunkering down
like a cat sleepily watching
what it might decide is prey.
Wild ivy marrs orange brick,
paint splits over damp wood.
What life looks to such a place
for repose? What repose is there?
Perhaps, in summer, homebrew
will be drunk under porchlight
wine made from elderflower
or rosehip, the flies burned away
by cigarette smoke and citronella.
By night, passersby report
of works in the converted barn
the churr of power tools
subdued by radio voices.
Nothing appears from these tasks,
no rudimentary architecture,
or backwoods sculptures
only the sheets of corrugated iron
collecting rainwater and lichen,
and the signs fixed to electric fences,
shouting into the quiet: ‘Keep Out!’
‘Private property!’ and ‘Please accept
that your continued indifference
is the reason for our retreat!’
Halogen defines the perimeter.
Sheep skulls adorn fences. Winter
will bring snowdrifts and cabin fires,
but we remain forever loyal
to our abandonment dream.


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