ALONE AT NIGHT
Alone now in the old house
I lock doors, fasten windows
and close the curtains to keep out fear.
There is nothing outside but sheep
standing patiently in dark fields
keeping watch for winter foxes.
The trees toss restlessly in the garth
talking amongst themselves.
There is nothing outside but the dark.
Inside the fire burns optimistically;
it's flame a brand to thrust
in the eyes of ravening wolves.
I am not used to silence,
the quiet conversations of sheep
the breath of trees, fox cry.
Sometimes in the night
I wake and feel the silence and the dark
filling the sockets of my skull.
This poem was written quite a few years ago, after I returned to the north of England on my own to stay in the isolated farmhouse I had been brought up in. I realised during the night, that it was the first time I had been alone without either a partner or my children since I left home at the age of 18. I've always been afraid of the dark - a fear no rational debate can cure!!
* a garth is an old norse word - northern dialect for a belt of trees grown as a wind-break around houses.