They are here like us at Queribus
And at Peyrepertuse, fiddling with their
Camera batteries, dragging their red setters
Up congested spirals onto views.
When they meet each other unexpectedly
Hyperbolic protests of astonishment
Lose their fizz in about five seconds flat.
And we are here like them, in fact
We are them; indicating unworriedly near
The lightning conductor above some absolute
Drop. And so we gaze down on ourselves
Moving as remorselessly as ants on some gateau
Across the esplanade of a donjon
Belted by curtains of stone. But as we go down,
We fade also from our own recollection,
Even our images leaving these high places
In the grip of those wizened bushes
With the odours we half-recognised.
No transmigration helps nor any afterlife.
It is not for tomorrow’s wraiths to haunt antiquities
Since the ticket-office is closed to their memories
And the cornices frequented only by the birds
Whose names they were never too sure of.
First published in ‘Dancers in Daylight’ – Anvil Press Poetry 2003