Mervyn Linford

Nunc Dimitis

In the silence of this August evening
I’m watching the swifts as they hurtle
round the eaves.

They seem to have done with screeching
and soon enough they’ll leave us for the south
and warmer skies.

They have deserts to cross, but don’t we all:
autumn is dry for the elderly despite the lack of heat
and the need of a mirage –
an oasis.

To hurtle is a verb
that’s changing tense:
migrations or transmigrations?

Once again deserts sound familiar;
Like mother, father, and the spectre of that
old Tridentine Mass

when swifts around the eaves of that small church
intoned their high-pitched prayers
for all departing.

The first unhurried, pale and ghostlike leaves
detach themselves like clichés from the past
and as they fall as fathomless
as dusk

the silent stars observe the cold reprise
of Perseids that shower down like sparks
or hot conceits.

Mervyn Linford has been writing poetry for more than four decades; won, or been runner-up in a number of national and local poetry competitions. His work has been published in numerous magazines and periodicals and also been broadcast on both local and national radio. He has been a member of the Southend Poetry Group for nearly forty years and regularly gives public readings and talks about both his prose and his poetry, and was the editor of Littoral Magazine for two years.