Virginia Betts

An Afternoon Walk.

It is after midday,
And, filled with wine and warm food,
We flatten the wet grass
With clumsy trudge.

Leaves reveal the sun’s prismatic flashes,
Intermittent arrows that offer
Blind comfort.

The damp air smells of twilight,
Though the day’s hardly done.
And each stone, weather-worn,
Deflects a close inspection,
In shades of shadowy blue.

We tiptoe around the grassy mounds,
I, imagining the shivering rows, turning,
Where we step,
Disturbed.

We hold hands, but I am
Not there.
I think I hear ancient hymns drift and catch
On the breeze,
And whispered voices slip from slumber,
Diffuse across time, without words.

All that remains is a feeling.
The chipped and crumbling stone fragments;
My thoughts dissemble into shards
On the grass.

And I am in this earth –
This soft, brown, enveloping ground,
Absorbed,
Where no light or sound
Can reach me.

This strange, bleak and hollow silence,
Surrounds me fold on fold,
Where no bird sings,
And stories never told
Fight to surface.

I hear the distant mower drone,
And lamb bleats murmur,
While high above, an engine of the past
Hums peacefully across the sky,
The thin smoke trail connecting you, and I

To be wrapped within this silent world;
To cease to be;
Where all deeds die,
And somehow slip away

In time, we are all just stories;
Our vain attempts to make our mark,
Melt like sandstone in rain;
Like chalk into dust.

Our names carved in art
Fail to be indelible,
And who knows
Who lies here?

Our fingers find their meeting point.
I think this moment should be suspended.
For jealous Time trivialises the relentless
Crawl upon the wheel,
And shatters us,
Scattering our thoughts to be blown to the wind.

Virginia graduated from Essex University with a degree in Literature, and later gained a postgraduate degree in teaching English. She taught for 15 years, then set up her tuition business, Results Tutoring, where she indulges her passion for literary analysis whilst
helping her students to achieve their potential. The written word creates a visceral sensation in Virginia; poetry is her preferred method of emotional expression. Her other obsessions are
swimming and violin playing.