The smells of ordinariness
Were new on the night drive through France;
Rain and hay and woods on the air
Made warm draughts in the open car.
Signposts whitened relentlessly.
Montrueil, Abbéville, Beauvais
Were promised, promised, came and went,
Each place granting its name’s fulfilment.
A combine groaning its way late
Bled seeds across its work-light.
A forest fire smouldered out.
One by one small cafés shut.
I thought of you continuously
A thousand miles south where Italy
Laid its loin to France on the darkened sphere.
Your ordinariness was renewed there.