Ethical question

A good day

United Kingdom.

A good day; 1st February 2021

at St Luke’s
in the shadow of ashlar stone walls
shame-faced snowdrops sip spirits
from the sacred stills beneath
Percy French bubbles rootwards
intoxicating the hooded
crow-like sepulchral ghosts

in the scrape-sky woods
beyond the labelled wicker gate
no wind penetrates
though heavy sinuous trunks vibrate
as underfoot
sodden leaves scream
songs on the death of children

you never knew this
but knew of other woods
and other deaths
ghostly fingers brush my palm
and unseen breath sighs
soft as a white silk muffler
poignant as Mahler’s 9th

the bright-breasted robin
head-bent eyes-alive
hunches alert and tense-legged
on a moss-crusted fallen pine
listening attentively for each paw-fall
from the chestnut squirrel above
and my indiscreet intrusion

i inform him {sotto voce} that I am
contrite for chance-distress
smiling an apology
which he accepts with little grace
flouncing to fire-flushed flight
leaving one single neutral note
hovering in the stillness

if it all ended now
if my presence ceased here at this time
then today
enwrapped in memories
and held fast in this moment
of privacy and peace
would be, as good a day as any

A walk in the pine woods; close to and the ancient St Luke’s Church where the entertainer Percy French is buried conjured ethical questions and memories…


Alan Corkish

Senior editor at and one-time psychologist working within the NHS with a Crisis Team. Dr. Corkish (BA MA MSc PhD) comes from a solidly working-class background having worked variously as a building worker, stoker on a steam-ship, dock-labourer, farm hand, street-sweeper and at various manual-occupations. More recently he worked within the NHS as a psychologist on a Crisis Team.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button