The Caravan

We were alive that evening, on the north Yorkshire moors,
in a valley of scuffed hills and smouldering gorse.
Pheasants strutted, their feathers as richly patterned
as Moroccan rugs, past the old Roma caravan –
candles, a rose-cushioned bed, etched glass –
that I'd hired to imagine us gipsies
as our bacon and bean stew bubbled,
as you built a fire, moustached, shirt-sleeves rolled.
It kindled and started to lick, and you laughed
in your muddy boots, there in the wild –
or as close as we can now get to the wild –
skinning up a joint with dirty hands, sloshing wine
into beakers, the sky turning heather with night,
the moon a huge cauldron of light,
the chill wind blasting away our mortgage,
emails, bills, TV, our broken washing machine.
Smoke and stars meant my thoughts loosened,
and took off like the owls that circled overhead,
and I knew your hands would later catch in my hair,
hoped the wedding ring on them never seemed a snare –
for if you were a traveller I would not make you settle,
but would have you follow your own weather,
and if you were a hawk I would not have you hooded,
but would watch, dry-mouthed, as you hung above the fields,
and if you were a rabbit I would not want you tame,
but would watch you gambolling through the bracken,
though there is dark meat packed around your ribs,
and the hawk hangs in the skies.

unpublished poem, ? Clare Pollard 2009, used by permission of the author.

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