For Anna, on her birthday
It took a bus and a train to get to you,
wedding, but we got there, in our minds,
tumbling down Northumberland inclines
words not seeming enough, just vibrations.
The converted barn, white lights set
deep into beams and holding the view,
stood proud at the bottom of the track
where you removed your shoes and held my hand,
the vows having already taken place,
in both heads and hearts.
Following bridal laughter,
I pulled names from hats, and was tenderly
introduced to drinks and people and histories
bound in ribbon, handshakes and wine.
Smoking upon the stone steps, a joke rose
into the pastels of the sky and fell among
dark green encampments of pine,
turns of land like conversations.
Cold sent us back inside, for another moment,
then music spilled into the countryside,
walls reverberating with chorus and harmony and
a particular, urgent sense of revelry appeared
soon accompanied by widening circles,
directions of playful social enquiry,
until the inhibitions were dropped, sexually,
like the strap of a champagne flute dress.
Our hot mouths drew closer, and strangers
melted into acquaintance and coincidence,
escapades onto the balcony returned with
handfuls of tobacco and more kisses for you
and I swore the lights began to dim as I held
you closer than reason suggested, and heard
voices swelling with pride and surety, night
now upon us, holding the hair from your eyes.
At the end, the evening’s end, I found you dear,
waiting at the top of the track,
shoes off and hands full of splinters.
I’ve been waiting for you for ages,
you said, a little drunk.
Me too, I said silently and happily,