Clair Chilvers – Gazing at the Milky Way

Chilvers LE P&W April 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2023

Gazing at the Milky Way, poem by Clair Chilvers.

Gazing at the Milky Way

Imagine driving from Tuscany
past tobacco fields and sunflowers
over the hills towards the softer landscape of Umbria
past the café on the road where lorry drivers stop for lunch.
Today the menu is antipasto misto,
tortellini and vitello marsala
perfect with a small carafe of wine.

A small turning just beyond, without a signpost,
past the cemetery
pictures of the deceased and plastic flowers on marble graves
then the road becomes a rough track
deeply rutted after winter snow.

The first time was in early summer
the estate agent wore rubber boots
against the vipers. I just prayed.
The farmhouse derelict,
a tree growing through the roof,
concrete animal stalls on the lower floor.

It was the view across the valley that decided me,
a stream with aspens in the foreground
a chestnut forest on the slope beyond.

I did not know then that sheep would pass below my window
with a boy to mind them
or that dogs from the distant farm
would wake me every morning.

I did not know then that one night I would turn off the lights,
lie in pitch blackness on the terrace
to gaze at the milky way.

© Clair Chilvers

Clair Chilvers’ published collections are: Out of the Darkness (Frosted Fire, 2021); and Island (Impspired Press, 2022). Her poems have been published in journals including Acumen, Agenda, Allegro, Impspired, Ink Sweat and Tears, and Live Encounters. She was a cancer scientist and lives in Gloucestershire, UK.   twitter@cedc13

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