A summer’s night, 15 years ago.

The sky was chalked pink and blue,

I could hear cows lowing and birds singing

a song which I couldn’t tell was happy or sad.

You stood by the pastures under an oak:

an obliging scarecrow,

telling me to watch out for the

barbed wire, and not to be too long

because dinner would be ready by 7.

I made you sit for me as I drew you.


Your wrinkles were wheel ruts on a country path.

They spoke of the passage of time, of jokes which made you laugh until it hurt,

and of too many cigarettes.


Your smile dug deeper ditches into your face,

your cheeks creasing into dimples, and

your green eyes searched me –

stopped me short like a highwayman.

As you caught hold of your grey hair

Flying up, up, up around your head like a halo,

I tried to catch you on paper.

You had stepped out of the silver screen:

hat in hand and beige trench coat

hanging off your Hepburn shoulders,

red lipped laugh catching on the breeze,

you didn’t belong to a world of mud and

grass and hungry children –


The clouds seemed to call to you,

and the wind asked you to join

him in a slow tremulous waltz,

whilst the sun set and the

birds sung their song in a minor key.

I choose to draw you again, sketch you again, this way.

Somewhere you are dancing with

that wind,

up, up, up,

and away,

on a breeze that cannot be caught.