Adrian Plass

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    When You Slept

    By Adrian Plass

    When you slept 
    On the cushion
    In the boat
    Did you dream the walk we took
    You and I 
    One autumn afternoon
    From that little church at Lullington 
    Through Littlington to Alfriston
    Where ageless fields of flint and chalk 
    Fall seamlessly to merge and meet 
    With green and violet shadows
    That are circling and embracing 
    The cathedral of the Downs?
    I was in terror of a storm that day
    The brown and gold and crimson 
    Flew and fluttered round our heads
    Brittle messages of loss and pain and death
    The surging valley-side beyond us
    Once a way to rise 
    I suddenly discerned
    Was nothing 
    Nothing but a dumb and loveless wall
    So sad to see familiar beauty now a thing of ugliness
    I dropped my gaze
    And then you spoke the word 
    A firm command 
    Into the centre of the raging storm
    And when, on sensing stillness
    At last I raised my eyes
    I saw with grateful wonder
    That the splendour had returned