Dusk at Preston Montford

By on Mar 17, 2019 in Poetry

Blurry row of poplar trees


Shropshire, England, 1983

First, the silence. Then, the green
of poplars in a row like a solemn waiting chorus,
motionless. The wood-and-wire fences,
brick wall: borders marking edges. A silent Severn,
wet line seen through boughs.

At first. Then, the leaves
at the top of poplars, waving in a slight breeze.
Fresh cow dung, dried dung, green grass,
dry weeds. Purple and white flowers.
A wildness uncontained by fences.

Down the path, shadows of dusk
lead on to the River. The Severn moves
in a gentle way: an angler’s plunk,
the call of a pigeon, ripples
of far-off cars, ferns mixed
with brambles and mushrooms.

Walking up the bank, pushing
aside branches and brambles to find
the path, its steps. Emerging
over the fence again. Cows graze,
moving little. Voices from the house
break the quiet that is not silence.
Green darkens into the Shropshire night.
Footsteps through the cultivated fields
that grown in this wildness of nature.

I take a deep breath of the country
before opening the door, going inside,
and beginning to write.


Brian Cronwall is a retired English faculty member from Kaua’i Community College in Hawai’i. His poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies in Hawai’i, Guam, the continental United States, Australia, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom, including recent publications in Bamboo Ridge, Chiron Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Ekphrasis, Pinyon, Colere, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Grasslimb, The Carolina Quarterly, The Briar Cliff Review, and others.