Cider Story

A daughter now for her blinded sire in England
Pronounces the Greek and Hebrew which she cannot understand,
Or carries him cider, along the whitewashed hall.

I hear her candid voice approaching, skirts on flagstones,
And it strikes me that, at twenty shillings a litre,
Cider is still, just about, affordable.

It is middle morning, one of those apple forenoons
Which make the fairest lineaments of England. I decide so
In my darkness, then return to my rigid black questions:

What kind of chair is this? Who released it from the native oak
With my person attached and set it down upon limestone?
The rhetorical pavement echoes the courteous step

Of my cool but resented dryad, who carries me cider,
Whose voice I detect in the apple-green light by the wall:
“Tis good for thee,’ she comes trilling in consolation.
‘And drink it up, now, that shall take thy mind off thy dole.’

from The Classical Farm (Bloodaxe, 1987), © Peter Didsbury 1987, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Peter Didsbury in the Poetry Store

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