A flight past Mount Aspiring
Racing through remote
a wingspan from the rockface,
we cross the next arête,
hesitate: staring up
a 10,000-foot peak,
down dark cliffs
to a slate-green,
I’m six again,
exploring wintry puddles
along a rutted track.
Then a weight
of sun-warmed snow
breaks and slides downslope,
pausing and piling up on
one narrow ledge,
collapsing again down the cliffs,
bruising the water
before it hits.
Perhaps once in a season
it lines up like today –
cold with low stratus all morning
but when you finally get to the airfield
the cloud’s burning back to blue sky
with flat-based cumulus forming
in a just-strong-enough south-westerly
and before you know it
you’re at the top of the wire,
releasing in rising air,
levelling your glider’s wings
to soar across country
up a cloudstreet that’s aligned itself
with the instant of your arrival.
The derelict churchyard
Traces of the tombstones’ lettering
are inked in by black moss, but can’t be read.
A capital. A skull. One Latin word.
What might have been a face. A date of death.
Inside the mass of pale forget-me-nots
heaped up on graves like blizzard-driven snow –
two sparrow chicks, begging to be fed.
Helen Evans is based in Exeter, Devon. Her work has been published in The Rialto, The North, Obsessed with Pipework and The Broadsheet, while her poem ‘Night Crossing’ came third in the Manchester Cathedral International Poetry Competition.
Her website is at helen-evans.co.uk