Late as usual, the moon sets up.
For half an hour it sticks around the oak,
the branches black before the whole sky,
the oak is in the centre of a field edged
by a loop of river and a blackthorn hedge,
nothing has altered here for centuries
but the tree’s girth and the water in the beck
though peculiarly the freshness of it
makes it almost seem to be the same.
The field’s absorbed the summer visitors,
swallows, children, camomile, a swan,
it keeps their spirits underneath the bridge
against their safe return. Tomorrow
sun will blow shadows to the winds
the tree will empty out its pockets,
spiders, squirrels, wood lice, mites,
busy themselves about their lives,
more water from the lake will be the river
here under pressure from the fells
and forces that drop past and land on stone.
More water from the sky will be the tree.
And the river, pegged down by its rocks and rushes
gives and takes the moonlight, pale, as you’d expect
of last night’s rain and yesterday’s sun combined.
Now, here’s the place to clear the memory.
The oak tree is a traveller in time,
if it’s learnt one thing, it’s like the present best;
The rain begins, and everything comes together.
Rain’s in the children and the creatures
and the leaves, and like the leaves, the rain
can never fall from grace, and cannot fall without.