A mile or so beyond the village
we passed a circle of walled ground
in a wet, cow-trodden field
a stone’s throw from the River Devon.
I’d heard it was the bishop’s acre,
where the family gravestones stood
in a tangle of thorn and sycamore.
It made me think of death as something
firm as timber, tough as roots,
persistent as the river’s pulse.
I never tried to climb the wall
or slip like water through the gate.
Perhaps I was afraid to find
the carcass of a hare or fox
rotting in a haze of flies;
or see a shudder in the yew,
part its leaves and light upon
nothing in the heart of green.