Orpheus Crossing

Orpheus crosses the council estate
Returning home he hesitates   –
Best sidestep the limelight
And like the sky put on a hood of grey

This is no earthly paradise
This is England
A search for safety and survival manifest
In ready sombre-toned athleisure wear

John Clare crosses hard on foot from London
His fractured mind finds comfort
Passing through the villages of Harrold and Odell
Their mingled streams of birdsong and of water

Many cast-off by brief fame
London’s fickle favour and regard
Question they were born to be
More than an amusing passing moment

The ‘peasant poet’ on the road might ponder
‘Nature is a deep broad heart and never artificial   –
All I leave behind me are the games   –
Their fashion-plates disguised as poetry’


Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer







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