An elderly woman from the well
Expanded songs within a pail,
Through the southern snow-bound spell
Songs of thrush and songs of snail.
I’ve never seen a silver cloud,
Only grey or golden,
A longer furrow’s better ploughed
If beliefs are less beholden
Than the love you feel.
Wine is thicker than blood which heals;
Break butterflies on a Catherine wheel
And luncheon-loaves will turn to eels.
With these words she repeated
And gravely villagers gave her thanks,
She dragged the Sun and had well-heated
Copper pipes and mouldy tanks.
The lady gave me her dodmen
And bid me fill the urn,
I travelled from Beccles to Bodmin
But nothing could I learn,
For the pail was lined with silver,
Filled with clouds like coal,
Her songs leaked out, customs bewildered;
I had not sealed the sorrow-hole.