What intrigues him is how chance encounters
embed themselves so firmly in his mind.
Strangers meet on an overgrown woodland trail,
a few seconds only, but the imprint
endures, becomes one more link in a chain
too intricately made to be understood.
Like the time he’d followed a stream all day
along a valley filled with lupins
the colour of amethyst in sunlight.
Since dawn, he’d been alone with concentration,
changes to the rhythm of his stride and breath,
the pleasure of contemplating flowers
in numbers too great to count, the business
of walking thought and feeling into shape,
until out of nowhere had come voices,
a dog called back before it reached him
by laughing children he couldn’t see
and beyond a twist in the track, two men
splitting logs and clearing a stretch of ground
who’d leaned on their axes and nodded
as he came up with them.  Later, he’d passed
the derelict house they were rebuilding,
a long, grey-stone, slate-roofed barn of a place
with scaffolding still battened to the walls,
he’d seen their caravans, heard a baby crying
and ever since, he’s used those images,
so clear and sharp he’s kept his faith in them,
to tread a way his boots won’t touch again.

Ken Head

If you have any comments on this poem, Ken Head would be pleased to hear from you.