OUT WALKING: WANSTEAD FLATS
A temple about here somewhere
The map forewarns, a golf course
And City of London Cemetery.
Seven Poles are talking under a tree
Still just in full leaf.
You don’t arrive at a country,
A country arrives at you
As, looking for somewhere to die,
You travel out into a city, its omens
Flashed up on screens, shakily.
Yes this is where they have come.
But walking like this you are being detached
From two separate places
And waist-high in grass now
Standing out here the the world seems flat.
Moving across it you attract
The city’s roar, then its murmur.
It leaves that residue of high-pitched sound –
Like this you can walk yourself into
A particular sort of silence. Returning
And crossing, at the chicane’s
A trajectory hard to plot.
You do imagine the cameras
Even here, suspended from trees perhaps?
Till back on the station platform, six minutes to go.
The last flowers open their mouths, and
‘For god’s sake man just chill’ –
She’s talking to the puppy
While a paper dart’s erratic progress
On the platform opposite
Is the wind, in its performance
Catching it like that, a baffler –
‘Mine died’ the child says, watching it
As it flutters down onto the track
Copyright John Welch 2013
In 1975 John Welch founded The Many Press, a poetry publisher which over the next 20 years published many books, pamphlets and broadsheets. His Collected Poems, bringing together work from over 30 years, and a memoir, Dreaming Arrival, were both published by Shearsman in 2008; titles since then are Visiting Exile and Its Halting Measure.