A friend brings the outdoors. Carries it in.
Wears it in his grizzled-hair, the stubble
on his cheeks. You can see it in the streams
gathering in the corners of his eyes.
Says he's just got off work. Talks
of rain, skies. Tells us he's been
planting trees – hornbeams
but there was a problem
the place where he dug his holes,
well, there were flints underneath.
Interlocking sheets of stones
forming, so he believed,
part of a Roman road.
Where we were sitting,
in another friend's kitchen
eating slabs of cake, drinking
cups of tea we were a stone's throw
from another Roman road.
Built on a bank, the road
rides in the air, high off the ground,
marches through fields, woods
past burial mounds.
This was the Roman way:
to stamp their authority
on the cold, green country.
Anyway, this friend picks at the flints.
Some are fingers, others thumbs.
Lays them out – skeleton hands.
Watches out for shards of pots.
All of which slows the job down.
We eat our cake. Drink our tea.
Soon we'll have to go, get in the car
drive down a darkening lane.
In this way, Wednesday goes by
our thoughts following naturally,
roads to eternity.