No, this is the cruellest month.
January, the old year passed on,
the sky over High Neb
emptied of light.
From off the valley a wind
edged with ice
stirs the couch grass,
the earth is pungent with the dead,
my head suddenly full of voices
and faces I can’t put a name to.
I sit down by a grey-green wall
to watch a dog sniff a trail by the hedge,
both of us slipped the leash, searching
these borders for a scent of home.
From James Caruth’s sequence ‘Tithes’ in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing. Listen to James Caruth reading this poem on location in Bowcroft Cemetery, Stannington, Sheffield: