by Norman Jope
[ poetry - march 08 ]
Sheltered in its hills, the virtual village
goes about its business, open to all.
On a summer day, the sun swims languidly
from St Lawrence Hill to Rose Hill, across to Bath Hill
and, at the Chestnut Inn, the beers go down.
Down Peace Street, drifts an occasional bicycle
and, in an unknown house, a novel simmers.
Houses, turned at angles to the streets,
resonate to the sound of dishes and taps
and, as day declines, their owners
yawn on porches. All around, the hills
are trembling with birdsong, with the steps of deer
and, in the Restaurant of the Little Thrush,
mushrooms are crumbed and sauces stirred.
A day has occurred with its quota of buses,
its errands to the shops, its domestic tasks,
and, as commuters press down latches,
the scarlet tiles turn crimson in the light.
Birch and maple, oak and acacia
revise their shadows as wine flows softly
and it's as if I were there, in that simple street-plan,
barked at by dogs, in mind of trails
with four-colour codes, reaching for the hills...
as if booked into the Pilis Hotel
for a smooth night's sleep, spent dreaming of wolves
that were wiped out long ago.
A thousand photos on a website
of a pixellated place, plus a fragment of map
and I, with ease, am unpresently present...
carrying home to where I am
as the same stars rise across the skies of Europe.