Custodian follows the route of a walk in the Lake District, and this is written for my nephew John Steel.



I charge you with the afterlife of that moment.
Return periodically across your life and see us
(you in your second decade, me in my fifth) still paused

at the gate between Snary Beck and Mockerkin How.
See again the white horse on the fell, the light
gilding its tail as and when the wind flickered.

We passed Snary Beck, Cogra Moss
was behind us, and I thought the animal’s
poise as beautiful as anything on earth.

But it’s our pause, the instinctive accord of it, and the light
which must also have been flickering in our hair,
I now find (shifting my gaze) more beautiful.

First published in Branch-lines: Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry edited by Guy Cuthbertson and Lucy Newlyn (Enitharmon, 2007), ? Helen Farish 2007, used by permission of the author.

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