That autumn the colours were exceptionally vivid,
everywhere, trees broke out in topaz, crimson,
flame; a huge moon rose over the ancient buildings,
and I thought I’d got over it, but I had not.
The colour scale stretched from snowberry to privet;
bryony, rosehip, spindle ran riot in hedgerows,
rare shades of purple, too; meanwhile, the red candles
of Lords and Ladies lit my dark passage home.
But I was back in a certain intensive care unit
whose doors were closed; I no longer had any reason
to go there. Unripe crab apples strewed the towpath
that autumn, and sloe berries set my teeth on edge.