They Say

- jan-u-wine

they say
he
is prone
to dreaming.
 
I would
that he were...
 
I would
that dreams
were left him.
 
they call him mad.
 
it breaks
more
than my heart
to see their looks
behind his back...
 
to hear the laughter,
 
or even the
silence
that falls
into the clamour of the Dragon
should he happen by
of an evening.
 
 
it makes me mad....
 
but
 
there is naught
I can say....
 
naught I can do.
 
I think....
 
I think
 
there may be
some truth
to what
they say.
 
His mind
deserts him.
 
I chanced upon him
 
yesterday
 
in the garden.
 
Easily, I could have
touched him,
we were that close.
 
But I did not.
 
He did not know
I was there.
 
I bowed my head
and watched
tears
fall from
his quiet face.
 
his eyes looked
past me,
through me
to where the
Hill meets the sky.
 
I wonder
what he saw
there,
all bright
with distanc'd
light?
 
What was it
that called
forth
those tears
to fall
so silent,
so bitter
so careless
upon the ground?
 
A long while
we stood
together
(and yet I knew
very well
I was alone).

After a time
(I know not how)
I felt him
drifting
back to himself. 

I should not like
to startle him,
I should not like
to add to his pain…..
 
quick-like,
I walk to the other end
of the garden,
to where
the shears lay quiet
against the barrow.
 
When I
chance
upon him again,
in the midst of diligent 
winnowing of errant
roses,
a smile
as bright as the day
greets my efforts.
 
I proclaim amazement
at his sudden
excursion
into the garden
and pretend
not to notice
that his hand
is not so steady
upon my shoulder.
 
He will not meet
my eyes
as we speak
of unimportant
things....
 
 
how tall the children
of Mrs. Chubb
have grown.....
 
the sweet tang
of the leaf just
in from Longbottom....
 
the cold sour
goodness
of the Gaffer's home brew
this year....
 
the likelihood of an early winter....
 

It takes me a moment
to know
that I hold both
ends of the twine of this
conversation,
as it were.
 
He has fallen silent
yet again,
looking to where
a bird
carries twigs
from ground
to airy nest.
 
I follow his eye……
 
I follow his thought:
 
even the bird
has a home,
 
even
 
the bird
sings,
happy,
in the sun,
sleeps,
fearless
in the night.
 
Even the bird.
 
They say
he is prone
to dreaming.