The fields are bare and bleak, quiet, still;
Trees bereft of leaves, black bark, stoical;
Past the farmer's house and barns just a short walk
Along the rutted lane you can listen to the river swell,
And hear the sparrows chirrup, searching food.
At the stone bridge you have to fold your arms,
Lean forward, look over at the water, even though
The winter cold seeps through scarf and gloves;
You jump and stamp your feet, breathe warm air
Into your hands, watch twigs and leaves
Make their way down stream.
In the distance muffled cars and lorries
Go about their business, chase from one town
To the next.
Real life goes on, it stops for no one:
But here, now, at the stone bridge,
Looking way into the distance,
Hearing sparrows, watching water,
Solitary, alone with my thoughts -
Where does it begin and end, real life?
Bleak fields, chirrups, rustling of bushes;
All the real I need.