On Balance : Alan Franks

Once, when I was over among the estuaries

And the storeys of the sky were climbing

Deck-like from the storeys of the sea,

I clocked the rising steeple of the church,

The well-to-do one built on the wealth of wool,

Its narrowing to the point of prayerful hands

Conveying upwards this, its standing tithe,

In thanks for what is given and hope for more.

Then, as I was turning to the treeline,

Past the pollards and the poplar tops

A falcon, darkly bright on the air’s high ledge,

Furled and flung its form so sharply down

It turned from hurled rag to beak-tipped bow

To self-releasing cross-bolt, plummet-dart,

Gaming gravity’s laws and locking to

The clear sight of the white dove of its preying.

All day the sea lay rising like a sheet

Shaken at the window, and the sky

Towed in its castellated city of cloud

From whose parapets then stooped angry cataracts,

Swelling the sea still further into landswill.

Evening raised its shades from all the corners                        

Till the stark chambers of the eye’s mind

Drew blindness and the day was won and lost.