Court Green

Court Green

“The house made
newly precious to me”
—Ted Hughes
“Robbing Myself,”
Birthday Letters

I came back to Devon—
Back to North Tawton again

I came back even though—
I’d never left in the first place

It was no great disaster—
Nothing unnatural or weird

It was like returning home—
And a road back to myself

The worst snow and freeze-up—
In London for fifteen years

I picked over the apples—
My Victorians and Bramleys

The gladioli bulbs hibernating—
Court Green their calm oasis

I listened to the house—
Listened to Ted’s absence

No jealous trespassings—
No Assia gloating at me

The front room a crimson chamber—
My white-painted bookshelves

My patient books waiting for me—
My coffin Elm desk upstairs

The ratty Victorian stuffed chair—
The rugs woven out of nervousness

It was all waiting only for me—
My twelfth-century Devon manor

I’d hardly disturbed its oldness—
Listening at the bottom of the stairs

Under the thatch-coned roof—
I listened to my slow poet’s breath

The old house lonely for so long—
Was newly precious to me now

Sweet with quiet cleanliness—
The sun sinking behind the church

Through the studio window—
The graveyard with its gnarly Yew

I didn’t care anymore about anything—
I just wanted to live alone here

I had already lost everything—
St. Peter’s Church was growing dark

I was finally home at last I said—
No more Ariel night rides for me

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