for Kenneth and Christine Hillier
We come to this green custom
old as chalices, in summer on the grass.
Our way is down a medieval lane,
stones taken from a castle wall.
The day spreads out antiquity
and local news, a marching band,
the faces the museum
remembers to display,
best ham, best jam, costumes and skits
and dances on a stage.
The steeple in the trees sees all
as toys inside a shop.
Streets lead in from the orange brick
new houses near the park,
the slate stone pathway from the church,
and quarried, older streets.
Belles from their cottages and flats
push prams. They bend to tiny feet
and socks. Lads turn, noticing
Time wanders into the sun.
Idleness blankets the grass.
All afternoon, the village watches
the paces of the regiment,
hears jolting tunes that went to war.
Memory has a beer.
Resting among the gaudy stalls,
mothers keep babies near.
* poem, in its entirety, is available in the printed version of the current issue.
Hamish Guthrie’s poems have appeared in more than 30 magazines and journals in Canada, the United States, and England, including the Malahat Review, the Fiddlehead, and the Yale Literary Magazine. His book of poems Love Hurries This, from At Bay Press, will appear in 2022.