The Old Parsonage



There are watchers here:
in the old stone walls,
behind the heavy door,
hanging in cool air
when I turn
neck prickling
to see an empty space
where they are watching me.
Vibrations in the fabric
of an old house
where many have met
and said goodbye.

Trying to sleep,
counting the church clock’s
twelve chimes,
at last I feel them go.
Their voices seem to chuckle
on the edge of hearing,
floating in bubbles
of silent air to burst
on the widow pane
spilling sound scratches
in my ear.
Girl’s party screams?
A rugby chant?
Pub closing time?
Watchers teasing
hearing’s thin stretched thread.

One, then two chimes sing.
Music of hot rubber
scores a distant road,
bites of monster sound
snapping at the threads.
Then, three soft bells:
I fade into the sheets.

With morning pigeons
strum dull accompaniments
as solo songsters
rattle at my ears,
a jackdaw conducts himself
as always badly,
saws at the air.
Six bright chimes awake me
and I creak out of the door.

The Watchers must be sleeping in.


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