The Howe

Sunlight, the long beam, the
striking golden finger barely
warming old old stone that
withholds itself and
changes for no thing

our breath blooming white in the
chiselled air and some heaving
at the stone - cold sweat, frozen
fingers - and we are in
to silence and the bones -

brought more this
shortest day, the long low sun
glistening the snow - few
words, only breath and
feet scraping, grunts of

effort as we push and drag,
then the next layer - unplugging,
ramps and manoeuvering
difficult as the fire flickers and
magnifies our shifting darting

shadows on the angles of
our walls. Open, dust disturbed,
white-gleams and red wool, beads,
cups, weapons, tools, pots I remember
making -

the gentle access, careful placing
and, done, the gritty heavy
heave as plugs are shifted, lifted,
in. The sun rolls
down and darkness makes the silence

thicker, chasing us out with
bent backs before the disappearing
light: at our turn we feel
the last of warmth in a
world of white. Busy with the door-

stone we think on
fires and food, company, voices
welcoming us home, away
from the gone, the year's chore
Demeter's Fields
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