Return To Beachy Head


Read by Gayle Hunnicut

return to beachy head

Stillness – and a summer day, too warm for walking
But the cliff paths call and the dogs are ecstatic.
I, too, am intrigued – drawn back to a once familiar scene.
Those flowers – swathes of blue scabious, sweet thistle, ragwort, mignonette
And twisted trees that shape the wind’s direction.
“There’s Beachy Head,” I say aloud and catch my breath
– Measuring the might of stark white cliffs that thunder to the sea.
“Keep away from the edge, you two,” I call, laughing to see
Them cavalry charge the scattering rabbits, braving the
Nettles in hectic pursuit.
That barking – is it still the same?
Pausing to listen I hear a shadow sound.
Five years ago it was another pair that barked and ran,
Flinging their joy into the summer air.
I tremble now, ice cold and sick with sudden grief.
Why is the wind so still – why so dark the sky?
Is this some gap in passing time – or the way we begin to die?
Brown faces appear through the long silver grass.
What’s up? Come on – we’re here – we’re not lost.
They stand – waiting – watchful – sensing the distance
Between us, heads held high.
“Mother are you weeping?” they ask with anxious eyes …

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