Refugee

Out of the harvest valley
wrapped in a cloak of grass
travelled unseasonally,
came to the mountain pass

slung with a box of embers,
bow with a broken string;
came as late September's
snow-wind began to sing;

came as a late arriver
just when the weather turned,
fugitive last survivor,
village behind him burned;

knelt in his need of sleeping,
propped on the rock his bow,
gave himself to the creeping
late neolithic snow.

Snow took the gift and sank it
under inhuman cold,
inside an ice blanket
washed and powdered and rolled,

made deaf to all migrations
of settlement or war
a hundred generations,
and then a hundred more,

till body's resurrection -
when unangelic eyes
with scholarly selection
begin to analyse

in scraps of bark and leather
about the shrivelled flesh,
heaven and hell together
inseparably fresh.

-------------------------

© Brian Fewster,
Published in Nottingham Evening Post Poetry Supplement, Nov 30 2002.

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