A memory lingers. Pitch drips from old can
To be tasted doubtfully. Slow birch-rot,
Storm-crashed pine – virgin forest’s last stand.
Goat’s milk spurts warmly into plastic pot.
The past-voiced house speaks volumes in silence –
Spared by the wilful sad belief of two
Who know its day has gone. There is no sense,
The neighbours say. We’ve laboured long for new
Car and septic tank. Old ways’ end is set.
So they watch bemused as this last redoubt
Clings on year after gritted year and yet
Draws slow-won respect-begrudged nod out.
It’s not enough. The village shop has closed
And four-by-fours skelter the stony track.
The mine may come. And then the years opposed
To time’s faithless change will end. Don’t look back,
They’ll say. A new day has come. We don’t need
This now. And stubborn-earthed love will not win
And old house and forest let run to seed
Will no longer linger to challenge Finn.

Rupert Moreton

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