St Omers Martyrs Day

Dear N.,

We went to Stonyhurst which you know so well for the St Omers Martyrs Mass, the fifty old boys martyred for what they believed in. After I climbed the fell and walked back. I looked behind to the great light of the winter afternoon.

I started off up the great hill
bathed in evening February light
and on the summit a profound tree, heavy
silence, twilight gathering
but on the summit an open sense of height and freedom
and then descent
now before me the vast vale
first one then lights yellow, pinpricking all the way to Blackburn
but around me outer silence
the valley falling away
past countless sentinels of peace
and then one alone farmhouse
one yellow light
warm and symbol of faith
real dark down, the great trees, branches knotted and swaying
and that light behind
once so warm and close
one last time
tiny in the lost distance of time
like the martyrs
their great cause lost to memory
just one small light
in one view
to one who looks behind