On a cold hot day, when clouds and breeze
from the sea leave only sheltered corners
to sun that does more than warm the skin,
it might be possible to find something
like a particular gap in a dry stone wall
or the rhythm of a specific line of trees
which, for the moment, appears identical
with how it felt to be standing, looking
at some trees, a wall, in the summer
you would rather be remembering.
On a reservoir’s artificial shore, for instance,
you'd been fishing overnight, keeping
yourselves from sleeping with passions
imagined for the girl next door.
And had there really been a party where,
strewn across a lawn, you’d been alone
with whoever is was had lain
across your lap and casually said
if it wasn’t for your mutual friend
she would have loved you instead?
You doubt it now, of course. Such seasons
came and went in twilight possibility,
fruit-pickers arranged across an orchard
that smelt sharp-sweet of fallen apples,
combines thrashing over ripened fields,
a slow, exploratory kiss beside allotments -
and beyond all that the sound you do recall:
the shuck, the rattle of a Glasgow express.
May 2010, originally circulated via Various Artists