Any day finds me gingerly climbing
over the moist tilting stones,
looking up at the broken architrave
and banderols of weed.
From the accidental pulpit
of slipped — and slipping — masonry
my view is surely Rome
of 1750, birch and elder
sinking their roots like nostalgia
into the crumbling vaults,
country types at business
sketched in the grassy squares.
Autumn: the cattle shelter
by this improbable arch,
their rough, mauve tongues
graze the strung-up salt-block.
I am scratching the name
and date on this rock
week by week; it looks
as if just dashed off.
From Poetry Review, January 1984