Daphnis and Chloë
How many hundred years did blossoms flower
under her feet which hardly touched the ground,
when we were kissing by the bearded pond?
How I must have wanted, wanted her.
Now darkness, blight and fog as thick as wool,
the farms smoking in half-light, her on her own
crossing the outskirts of this dormitory town,
the collar of her fleece turned up. Wistful.
Next to the tarmac bays where vans arrive
I've watched her in her leather kecks, with carters
and milk-boys, still wearing the wilderness
as mud and straw-dung dried upon her sleeve,
as haw berries and forgetfulness of fields;
their faces flushed like our old dawns, their cabs
steamed up, their engines editing her sobs
in that morning light when bruises are revealed,
and I have tried to tell her how it feels
to watch and say nothing, followed her beyond
the town to her lair, to touch her, to remind
her, but the air swallowed the sound of her heels.
All stories, even ours, must have an end
and so I've left the others with our sheep –
I tail her past the bus station, the butchers' shop,
the chained Netto trolleys, over the waste ground,
its razor wire and intruder lights. The chase
ends here, in the alleys by the slaughterhouse.
She turns to me at bay, but amorous.
There is so little left to sacrifice.
Taken from Crossing the Outskirts by Julian Turner, published by Anvil Press Poetry in 2002