The Manchester Review
Jonty Driver
Two poems
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At the End of the Day

The sun comes sliding off the sea
To filch the gleams
From glass which tops the villa walls.
A mixed quartet is tuning up,
Down the road: fiddles, cello, horn – and brakes.
Women call and men reply. You’d think
That they were arguing if they didn’t laugh.
Subito and sub-terra sings the train.

Pitched out to catch the light, the pines
Loom above the terraced paths. The cars
Go crunching down a gravel drive,
Marcato, where some days – or weeks – ago
A gardener tidied needles into heaps.
The waves are talking to the shore
While gulls scream haphazardly.

Sostenuto calls the dove
From where the cornice fell last year.
A boy has painted something rude
On lucid stone.
A builder’s skip has blocked a passageway;
The paint is peeling, façade fades, iron flakes,
The cobble-stones are loosened in the road
And (rallentando) down the buildings fall.

And yet a hint of jasmine scents the air;
The trees are sequenced orange, lemon, lime.
The dog – whose name’s Allegro – hunts a squirrel
In the dried-up grass.
The order of the day is Lento, lento
. There’s something
On the very edge of what I want to say.
The sun is dropping down below the sea.
It has to do with quiet ways to end.
                                                    Like this.

                    (at the Liguria Study Centre, Bogliasco)