In its slant
black is not black
and white is no longer white.
It lights the valley’s oaks,
in a silver maritime revealing
a cloaked march; cloth hats, woollens,
backs hunched at odd angles,
protuberant noses, eyes kind with menace,
softly shod feet, guttural voices,
orders from an elder bent upon a walking stick.
Their scent is herb and earth;
vervain and thyme commingling
with dust and bone.
They creak like old leather.
From a background of circling stars
the lilt of a flute’s refrain is floating,
laughter of the party in the woods
that knows no end.
To join them would be tempting
but on this night I will stay sane,
put one foot
in front of the other
and come away.