Though horse chestnuts are aureoled
With gold round rusting foliage,
Black, column-straight trunks make them shrines
To night as ravens and I stand
Beneath a chilling cobalt sky.
Bells peal, and garden sphinxes ask:
“Why can’t the lion and lamb lie down
In harmony again?” Despite
My terse: “Because they never did”,
The question stays. And I too now
We’ve quarrelled and you’ve gone to Prague.
Your hair imagined as these tree
Leaves falling, swept by death-thin men
Into brown heaps, blackbirds agree
And hop about on cold bare limbs
In ownership, as news sinks in
That you have cancer and your course
In chemo-therapy’s begun.