Something Vesperal


Spectres, vast, remote,
Uneasily wagging their heads
In shrouds of crushed amethyst:

Tomorrow I will confirm
That they are hill crests.
And slopes parade the green oak, olive,

Serried cherry.
On sunken pots of Rome
An iridescence, thick
Or light, signifies the human:

Should the moment return
At sundown’s onset
I will ask what is this colour,

Again a few score of breaths,
And scaling the underside
Of pine branches

An aqueous rose, diffused.
Neither quality, nor adjunct.
How long so old.

from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2008), copyright © Christopher Middleton 2000, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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