Two in a wood, somewhere in Outer Wessex,
Watched the sun sink, a buzzard hunting low
Across the valley.
After each rendezvous,
They read from separate copies of one book,
Fostering togetherness between
Stiff covers. Each of them took
To bed His, Hers – it seemed to work for a while
(Though she paced out the plot, he
Lingered, savouring style.)
The grass retains no imprint of their hours
Together. They’ve paid their fines on Jude and Tess.
No smocked philosophers, however,
Will wryly gloss
Their tale, nor melancholy atheist compose
Their rites in monuments of austere prose –
A landscape held them in its palm like chaff:
So light a breeze – so chill the aftermath.
© Anthony Watts