two poems by Elizabeth Jennings:
It was the wildest of days.
Gales and torrents of rain.
The road turned to river.
No-one passed by.
The rowan flung down the
last of its berries.
I kept watch all morning,
straining to hear the clunk
of the rusting latch and
footsteps running to the door,
the family arriving
in spite of the storm.
I kept watch all day,
hearing only the screaming wind.
Yet no-one passed by,
no-one sought shelter.
Had I got the wrong day, or time?
Was it all too late, or too soon?
I had kept watch all year.
Too much to hope for, perhaps,
that the travellers should stop here.
But, as I turned from the window,
a blackbird perched on
the gate-post, unruffled
by the storm, so still,
as if carved from stone,
waiting, guarding the path,
ready to greet with song
the bearers of the fledgling God
who chooses to enter my home.
Spirit of place. Spirit of time. Re-form
The rugged oaks and chestnuts. Now they stand
Naked and pallid giants out of storm
And out of sorts. It is the Autumn’s end
And this is Winter brought in by All Saints
Fast followed by All Souls to keep us in
Touch with chill and death. Each re-acquaints
Us with the year’s end. Yet we now begin
A life of realism, watching out
for a red sunset, grateful for a dawn
Of rich light now. Tall shadows step and strut
Facing the big wind daily coming on faster.
This is the season of right doubt
While that elected child waits to be born.