In the far distance are coppices
that stand stock still
behind a shifting middle ground
and here, where traffic is quick and perpetual.
Properties change, but not that hanging
to a mind expectant as actors’ boards
for acts by any available you, you and you.
Yet always others in the audience,
fluffing their part,
betray, come late, blur as they pass
this older passenger fixed in some memory.
Could he sit there by the coppices
and stare towards here,
here would stand still, a middle ground
play on, some distant audience interfere.
Who can return to youth and hope
again? Most of the acts are known
and the best that age can do is avoid pretence
praying those distant coppices –
where the possible
was yet to be – retain their view;
the lad, if saddened, be unbetraying still.