began to fall before dawn,

blown horizontal in easterly winds

from across the hill. By evening

it lies deep in banks and drifts;


hedges become whitewashed walls,

barrels turn into haystacks,

the wood pile disappears.

I could almost believe


that we haven’t received

your mud-caked kit, breeches ripped

from ankle to hip, bloodied tunic,

your helmet, slightly dinged,


and the watch you won at school.

I could believe you’ll be with us

for dinner, having walked in your trench boots,

all the way home through the snow.


Jane Clarke

from All the Way Home (Smith|Doorstop, 2019)

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