Would we have gone on walking forever
on roads growing ever narrower,
ever scarcer, at more insensate angles
to the main road abandoned far behind us,
the earth grown skew, tussocked and matted,
the houses each more crabbed and crumbling,
the orchards damper, meaner, wilder,
and then the occasional new mansion
heartlessly clean and open and empty
in the middle of its scrubbed vineyards,
the only life a dog and a palm tree
each as misplaced there, and as lonely,
forgetting that, setting out, our intention
had been to return to where we started,
to where we lived, not entrusting
our lives to the light of a rainy evening,
a fading light and a road not ending?

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 39 Number 9, on page 30
Copyright © 2023 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
https://newcriterion.com/issues/2021/5/on-being-offered-a-ride-sheltering-from-the-rain-under-a-row-of-cypresses-on-a-country-lane