Anti-Atlas

There is a grandeur in the landscape, lifted up and uplifting
and dry, or dried in brightening air.

It is matched by an earnestness amongst the people
who have been hardened in the ways of nature and cooperatives
but can now hold higher hopes out for their children, who are
open-faced with dark and shy and curious, serious eyes
burning through the open groves and scattered plots
and stooping limestone crags, towering
over the poverty of older lives, sheltered with their animals;

Living together in resilience in adversity, for however many
years and days of grace and gratitude god sends…

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Clear blue

Branches etched out movement on a bright November sky
tracing their patterns of regret and birching silver stripes
of clarity above the shadowed lowering wood,
sharpened by a northwind blown across the course
to shiver those still trailing leaves of painted-on decay
in dissipated beauty drawn from distant, coppered splendour…

Cold and heedless of disorder under heaven
but (stumbling) striking sparks on harder ground,
we wandered through this landscape:
silent figures with our dogs, casting crablike
in their underworld of withered bush and musk,
stepping lightly through its sere, discoloured fall.