Betrayed by memory he sees blue skies.
He heard birdsong where there was none.
I know, I was there the day they came
to take him away.
The hay neatly stacked, barn swept,
Hames on a peg he carved himself.
November, when the sky said April
to fool memory.
Cirrus stretched towards the horizon,
snow to fire, array of winter sky
in fisheye view.
Grass still green and clean
where he had mown, a final chore.
Boots facing me
from feet that walked a million miles through turn-stiles from Dalymount
to Malmo, Madrid to Oslo and home.
Behind ploughs and before bogies
Passion for life and for rest too.
Lying supine, blind to the winter sky,
hearing birds where none sing.
His hands are lined and worn
but fine in that way that hands can be
that speak of soil and hoe and rope,
he lay them across his chest in rest,
jacket under his neck and surveyed
the job of mowing as he slept.
And slept forevermore listening to birds.
© Dave Kavanagh 2016