Adagio by Michael Bartholomew-Biggs


The last log’s glow subsides. It’s time
to bundle blankets on this borrowed sofa
and unplug the Christmas tree.
Beyond thin curtains
cold slides down outside the window

where tattered mist an hour ago
moved up the path ahead of us
to drape the trees and blend with woodsmoke
into incense for the secular,
augmenting shreds of choral anthem

clinging to us since those closing echoes
hovered over vestry chatter
and big plates of fruit cake for small boys
who swapped white robes for anoraks
to lead us over midnight water meadows.

A make-do bed; a tree already shedding
needles; drifting smoke and chilly mist
unzipping breath; those ringing wineglass voices
that must break: it’s still a mystery
the way in which these things all hold together.
First published in Poems in the Case
Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is a retired mathematician who is currently poetry editor of London Grip. His latest book is Poems in the Case which is a poetry collection embedded in the framework of a classic detective story.

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