Directions after Billy Collins
You know the railway line at the back of the house the one on the embankment high above the garden the one where from the sitting room window you felt that the train was coming into the room? And you know that you can cross the line walk down the steps to the footpath which goes along the side of the house and come to the front door and ring the bell? Well, I will let you in and take you to the garden. The best time is an early summer’s evening. The garden is on the east side of the house but the roof is low enough for sunset to spill across the lawn to catch the roses on the far side where Dublin Bay is a rich dark red velvet that you’d want to touch and wear. But it is hard to speak of these things of the trees at dusk, their leaves turned to silver by the breeze of the unseen high blackbird singing his goodnight aria of Bantry Bay rambling pink against the dark green nettles on the other side of the fence of the air surprised by the honeysuckle of where you must stand on the terrace and breathe in these moments. Still, let me know before you set out before you turn off the road into the village and when you ring my bell I will be waiting with a glass of wine on the table on the terrace in the garden waiting to share these moments.
Yesterday I didn’t go to the beach
but today I want to see the sun rise and say goodbye to the full moon. The high cliff’s shadow stretches out into the sea across the steep shingle bank pockmarked by a thousand footfalls where a red lifebelt planted on top commands against the pale sky in an emergency you must call the coastguard; the only sound the retreating foam arguing with the next wave in hiss and purr; soon the sea is dotted with coloured caps and splashings of dawn bathers; further out two tall pylons one red one green insist on the way into the harbour; a lone detectorist appears sweeping in swaying lines from the water’s edge to the shingle bank; a little dog watches me watch the cliff’s shadow retreat while behind us in the harbour a patient diesel engine beats the time as fishermen prepare to go sea and over the fields gulls call up the day.
If I’d told you
Last night I went back to where it began. You were still staring at me with your wide-open blind eyes when you told me forcing me to share your pain when you were cast adrift from the certainty you loved and how you’d screamed silently and no one knew and no help came and you were afraid to ask to know and you’d lashed out angrily and you were there for twenty years hating him and it had turned you sour. If I’d told you at that time when I found the letter I would have told you what it was and what it wasn’t. Last night I went back to where it began regretting it was too late.
Sandy is an ‘infant poet’ still in her nappies After a career in IT and then as a portrait photographer, she is learning the trade and writes about whatever passes before her eyes, of life, love, landscape and death.