A stone’s throw

A stone thrown, from this distance, might disperse
crows flocked around the shadow of a man
who waves his arms, appearing to rehearse
his plea beneath the apse’s vanished span;
or hit the glassless chancel where sun shone
like holy water poured from its cleft rock
as once, perhaps, on Tyre and Babylon,
the sand of Thebes, the dust of Antioch:
but here is English countryside and this
unseasonable weather with a view,
a motorway, exhaust and early mist,
chromatic shifts from pigeon grey to blue.

Here time grows discontented with its wait,
with silence never doing as its asked,
with medieval spaces desolate
at crocuses that mock their ruined past;
Hail Marys, alleluias, vespers blown
through candlelight unearthing with its tricks
among the sooty thumbs and fingerbones
frost’s broken skulls, spring’s yellow fingertips.