Some people say an ancient race landed
a spaceship here a thousand years ago.
They sent out scouts; explored the land;
settled, and tilled the soil. Then famine came,
and war. All memory ends here.
The travellers are gone; their ship, forgotten.
Until tonight. Tonight I walk the length
of the great hull. Anchored by buttresses,
pinned down by rusty scaffolding, it lies
a prisoner under an alien sky, the spire
straining to make contact with the stars.
A late car passes in the rain. Lights flicker
on the walls. I hear the swish of tyres
on wet tarmac; the hum of mighty engines
waking up. The ship is stirring. Timber
creaks; a finial falls, a flying buttress
scatters Purbeck stone, the sheer sides
soar up, vanish into space –
I shut my eyes – and it is nothing –
just a tale – as insubstantial as the wind
that shakes the chestnut trees and chases
leaves across the black, deserted Close.