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This poem is taken from PN Review 220, Volume 41 Number 2, November - December 2014.

‘Noctilucent’ and Other Poems Judith Willson
Noctilucent

We cross the garden: slant sun, slack tide of shadow.
He is remembering woods below San Pietro, the ragged end of a war.
Soldier and red-cloaked shepherd on the road,
the old man stilling his dog, waiting in the white road.
He watches now: his stumble down, wading knee-deep
through tangled nets of dazzle, spills of shade,
to the soft chalk curve between the trees,
the red cloak burned in his eyes. His hand, unsure.

He says, If a person walking raises his hand
he sees the shadow of each finger doubled
.

Trees slide down to lap us, attentive to our solitudes,
until the hollow dark is filled with memory of light –
fluorescence, phosphor glow, poppies’ slow burn;
ghostlights to guide our double-going.



James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
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