States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘The Vicar & the Gypsy’ by Graham Kershaw

Riding back from Heathrow, after Rome,
everything felt dark, sad, dirty, grim.
Only on the train did the old redemption come:
soft green fields, open loose-leafed canopies,
water tipped from shivering layers of leaf,
through clouds of shadow; all those rich depths
under bridges, in the ditches, between one hedge
and another; deep pools of shadow, pierced
by stars of wet light; mysteries gathering,
flooding, oozing into the failing day,
overwhelming the apparent and the assumed;
dark riches of numberless greens and greys,
too many, too fast to paint or say; immense poetry,
in fact, down amongst the fag-ends.

A private, dumb hoarding all our own, all this;
the debris of besieged beasts, hoarded trash
of dead philosophies, waiting every time
we fly in under that stifling blanket,
to something smaller than earth and sky,
the night crashing in, buses bearing up,
trains making do, faces turning
from the darkness and the light equally.
Me with my white paper hat melting
in my hand, you with your red scarf,
all the eyes of Surrey half-wondering,
half-wishing for less to wonder on,
if it might keep them from the telly.
Me a vicar, banished from Rome;
you a gypsy, banished to the road;
both fallen from the sky once more,
to be made real, this Monday evening.


Graham Kershaw