The Last Eclipse

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The next eclipse in England

Being ninety years away

I cycled to a hillside

Which overlooked a bay

A grey and windless August

With summer on the ropes

And half a dozen others

I stood upon the slopes

And looked across the linseed

To watch the change in light

At ninety-odd percent say,

It wouldn't turn to night

But with the fields grown silent

The process had begun

At forty-watts and fading;

A nail-clipping sun.

An eerie sort of business

Sedate and yet too fast

And mildly underwhelming

Until the moment passed

With disbelieving laughter

And watches checked in vain

The big event was over

And light in charge again

A solitary lorry

Roared rudely on a road

As on an extra day-shift

A distant cockerel crowed

The last eclipse in England

But see the thing we must

And we will all be dust.