A minute past noon,
and deeply cold on the shore.
The sun with its rare but un-marvellous halo
starts climbing back down the sky.
The air stills. Wind lies over field
like a razor held above a leather strop.
The beach is locked and hard.
Its uncut gems, and small round leaves
like patinated coins,
it keeps beneath plate glass.
How empty things are.
The cliff behind us acts from some notion of presence,
but very faintly, like a host of spirits
crowding to sip at a pool.
The world of phenomena gathers at the surface
of a system of unity powered by emptiness.
Hills. River. Line of winter farms.
A barge coming down the navigable channel
from somewhere inland, with nothing in its hold.
from That Old-Time Religion (Bloodaxe, 1994), © Peter Didsbury 1994, used by permission of the author and the publisher