‘Times Like Places’ by Sheenagh Pugh

A poem for the weather, for how it links us to our own memories. Forceably, at times. Wherever, whenever you are, there the world is. Sleeting at you. Rustling under you. Looming its mountains over you bracken brown, or ice-white or black. We live in the weather, in a way we do not live in the moment. Poem in a post by Tamar Yoseloff on the lovely Invective Against Swans

Times Like Places

 

There are times like places: there is weather
the shape of moments. Dark afternoons
by a fire are Craster in the rain
and a pub they happened on, unlooked-for
and welcoming, while a North Sea gale
spat spume at the rattling windows.

And most August middays can take him
to the village in Sachsen-Anhalt,
its windows shuttered against the sun
and a hen sleeping in the dusty road,
the day they picked cherries in a garden
so quiet, they could hear each other breathe.

Nor can he ever be on a ferry,
looking back at a boat’s wake, and not think
of the still, glassy morning off the Hook,
when it dawned on him they didn’t talk
in sentences any more: didn’t need to,
each knowing what the other would say.

The worst was Aberdeen, when they walked
the length of Union Street not speaking,
choking up, glancing sideways at each other,
but never at the same time. Black cats
and windy bridges bring it all back,
eyes stinging. Yet even this memory

is dear to him, now that no place or weather
or time of day can happen to them both.
On clear winter nights, he scans the sky
for Orion’s three-starred belt, remembering
whose arms warmed him, the cold night
he first saw it, who told him its name.

 

– Sheenagh Pugh

 

dusk

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