THE WILD MEN
The dust blows from the sandstone mounds,
Falling as rumours in the summer haze.
The intimacy of the village senses
Something in the almost urban.
Where wilderness was the wild remains
Unearthed in ancient bones.
History is revealed as real and uncertain.
There is strong ground here for believing
A presence in the nature of the land.
Observations for rational eyes
Pale and fade in the shadow of the strangers
Mute and naked with animal innocence.
The wild men are seen to wander
In ways once familiar, now unknown.
One night there came a late sound –
The soft, familiar tread on the stair.
A swish at the turning betrayed her.
So, too, the dimming of lights
Before the door opened.
My part was to feign sleep,
Not to see the silhouette
With a distance kept like a promise.
When she went I looked:
Hatless, gloves still in hand,
Her elegance receding slowly
Toward the dark where in time
She lay down for the long night,
The curtains closed at last.
Such nights there often were,
But the memory is of once,
A moment like no other.
All my childhood revealed
In a single act.
Surely she knew I was awake?
I had heard the hour strike,
Counting the beats that spoke of sleep.
Eyes closed in imagined starlight,
I listened for the door below.
The house was whispering
Of something about to happen.
We prepared to pretend
To play as if the play were true.
Geoffrey Heptonstall is a poetry reviewer for The London Magazine. He is a widely-published poet, essayist and short story writer. There is recent or forthcoming poetry in Caterpillar, International Literary Quarterly, Message in a Bottle, Poetry Salzburg and Sarasvati and the Festival of Firsts. Recent performance scripts include work for Kilter Theatre and White Rabbit.